Tears flow during annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil

Many banners were held during the walk. In the front, left-right, are Lexi Deschutter and Yvonne Lachance. In the back, left-right, are Angeline Cunningham and Janie Calliou.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Over 100 High Prairie and area residents shed many tears and memories of lost loved ones at the Sisters in Spirit Vigil Oct. 4.

Elder Louis Bellrose prayed for all the missing women during his prayer.

It’s such a sad time to be thinking of help for them,” he said. “It’s been so many years. Please, Lord, help something come to fruition for our loved ones.”

This year’s vigil marked the ninth year the High Prairie Friendship Centre has hosted the event. In the early years, a few dozen people attended but the last two years over 100 have participated.

Belinda Wilier has attended every local vigil since the second year. The vigil has special meaning to her because she lost two “very good friends”.

Jackie Murdoch, her DNA was found on Robert Picton’s farm,” she says.

And Nina Joseph was murdered at 14. Her body was found in Freeman Park in Prince George.”

Led by the local police, people attending marched around town to bring awareness to the long-standing issue. Over 1,000 people are missing.

The vigil primarily recognizes missing or murdered aboriginal women although the vigil has since expanded to recognize all missing and murdered people.

Funded by Status of Women Canada, Sisters in Spirit is a research, education and policy initiative driven and led by aboriginal women. The primary goal was to conduct research and raise awareness of the alarming high rates of violence against aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

Sisters in Spirit also investigates the root causes of violence against mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers.

Willier praised the efforts of keeping the vigil going.

It’s a tragedy. We have to stop it. There has to be awareness to these types of tragedies.”

 

Relatives of the late Carmen L’Hirondelle remember and pay tribute to her. Left-right are Brittany L’Hirondelle, Christine L’Hirondelle and Bev L’Hirondelle. Carmen was murdered Oct. 18, 2003.
Belinda Willier holds a sign of two former friends: Jackie Murdoch, left, and Nina Joseph. Murdoch’s DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm; Joseph found murdered in a Prince George, B.C. park.

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