The fourth annual Victoria Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women included a record number of participants.
Turning those numbers into a positive force that is heard by government and police however, is a challenge.
The walk, which took place on Sunday, aims to raise awareness of the staggering statistics when it comes to missing and murdered Aboriginal women,
According to government numbers, young Indigenous women in Canada are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada has documented more than 580 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Most of these have been within the last three decades – one-quarter of them in B.C., and the majority under the age of 30.
For the people who march, they are more than numbers. Each represents a daughter, mother, auntie, cousin or friend. They are also university students, employees and caregivers who are missing, or whose murders remain unsolved. The fact that police and government tend to marginalize these women is bad enough. But when society as a whole does, it’s shameful.
The marchers ask us to remember these women and honour them. But what we as Canadians need to do is work to stop the cycle of violence and change attitudes towards indigenous people.
Helping to end poverty and providing proper shelter and clean water to Aboriginal people across the country is just a start to changing the socioeconomic future for all Canadians.
If we are committed to non-violence, we need to do more than march once a year. We need to hold our government, our police – and ourselves – to the highest standards.
We need to educate ourselves, speak out against violence and rouse our police and politicians to listen.