Sisters in Spirit Vigils honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

There will be at least 86 Sisters in Spirit Vigils taking place across Canada. 

Ottawa (30 Sept. 2016) — According to research by the Native Women's Association of Canada, there are more than 582 missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. 

Vigils honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

On October 4, we honour the memories of those women and girls, and we honour their communities for fighting for justice on their behalf.

The Sisters in Spirit Vigils will be held not only across the country but internationally to continue to raise awareness about the urgent need for federal action on the growing violence Indigenous women and girls face. A RCMP report released in 2014 indicated that 1,017 Indigenous women and girls wre murdered between 1980 and 2012.  

Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls launched after 11-year campaign

During the 2015 federal election, the Liberals committed to holding an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) submitted its recommendations in May 2016 to the pre-inquiry process. To prepare its submission, consultations were held by NWAC's Provincial and Territorial Member Associations (PTMAs) in March 2016 to garner opinions about the inquiry. 

These consultations involved a wide range of participants, including youth and Elders, Aboriginal Métis and Inuit women, and those living on reserve and off reserve, and in small and medium‐sized communities, cities, and remote locations. Participants in the consultations had a wide range of experience working in their local communities, provinces or territories, and nationally on issues of importance to Indigenous women and their families, including violence and its prevention.

After an 11-year campaign for an inquiry, NWAC saw it come to reality with the announcement of the inquiry in August 2016. 

Vigils grow each year 

The vigils, which have grown from 11 in 2006 to 216 in 2014, provide awareness and support to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. This year there will be at least 86 vigils taking place across Canada. The events take many forms: candlelight vigils, workshops, a moment of silence, a walk or a gathering to share memories and take part in a meal. The vigils have become a movement for social change and a reminder that our sisters will not be forgotten.

NUPGE encourages members and allies to support Sisters in Spirit Vigils

The National Union is proud to continue its support for the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Sisters in Spirit campaign. 

"We encourage all our members and allies to take part in the October 4 vigils in their communities," said Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer. "Now that the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has been launched, we need to ensure that this is a meaningful process to address the violence that has gone on too long."

More information:

Native Women's Association of Canada 


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE