Outside of Saskatoon police headquarters, students raised their voices with calls for change on Thursday.
“I am here to spread awareness about all the gender-based violence that happens in Saskatoon specifically towards Indigenous women and Indigenous children and two-spirited people,” 13-year-old KyLynna Linklater said.
Part of a coordinated youth effort across the country, students from 10 different Grade 8 classes came together for speeches, music and dancing before marching to Saskatoon City Hall.
Participants wore moose hide pins, symbolizing Indigenous culture and missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“It was all student-led,” said Mandy Cooper, a teacher at Westmount School. “Everything was written by the students, all of the performances were done by the students and within our class and within other schools in Saskatoon Public School Division.”
This is the first year this was held in Saskatoon.
“We have many Indigenous students in our program and they want to see change and they want to see it now and what better way than to be on a big platform where they can share their voice,” Cooper said.
Three hundred kilometres away, more students are also sharing their voices. The Moose Hide Campaign Day organizer in Indian Head, Robin Sveinbjorns, says more education will help keep people safe.
While she says she feels relatively safe in the community, others aren’t so fortunate.
“Twelve times the rate of violence Indigenous women and girls can expect compared to those of us who might be settler women or women who might be white-passing,” Sveinbjorns said.
Both events brought out large crowds and both organizers say these are the first steps. They want to see the event get bigger every year.
“We’re all here because we want to see change and we want to get justice,” Linklater said.