Focusing attention on the crisis of murdered and missing Aboriginal women.
Ottawa (2 Oct. 2009) – The fourth annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil will take place Oct. 4 across Canada to honour murdered and missing Aboriginal women and their families.
Sisters in Spirit (SIS) is an initiative launched by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) to address the issue of the hundreds of Aboriginal women who have either disappeared or have been found murdered in Canada over the past few decades.
Seventy communities will host Vigils to honour murdered or missing Aboriginal women and their families. The Vigils are also used to draw attention to this crisis, educate the public and to put pressure on all levels of government to act. For locations please visit the NWAC website.
This year a joint statement by NWAC, Amnesty International Canada, KAIROS Canada, National Association of Friendship Centres, Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, Métis National Council and the Canadian Federation of Students will be read nationwide.
'A national tragedy'
The statement opens:
“The violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is a national tragedy. The disappearance and murder of our Aboriginal sisters is felt nationwide, with countless First Nations, Inuit and Métis families and communities grappling with the loss of a loved one and struggling to find answers. We are speaking out, as individuals and organizations, because we believe this violence should be of urgent concern to everyone in Canada. More than that, this concern must lead to action—action to ensure that the rights and safety of Aboriginal sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers are respected and protected.”
“There are more than 520 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in this country. Each one of these women is loved and missed terribly by their family, friends and community. Their loss is our loss. Their grief is our grief. Together we demand action.”
The Joint Statement calls for a national plan of action that:
- Recognizes the violence faced by Aboriginal women because they are Aboriginal and because they are women;
- Ensures effective and unbiased police response through appropriate training, resources and coordination;
- Improves public awareness and accountability through the consistent collection and publication of comprehensive national statistics on rates of violent crime against Aboriginal women;
- Reduces the risk to Aboriginal women by closing the economic and social gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada; and,
- Improves the child welfare system.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) encourages all Canadians to participate and support the Vigil and show solidarity in raising awareness of the need to address the violence facing Aboriginal women.
NUPGE International Women’s Projects
At the National Union’s 2006 conference, Building International Sisterhood, NUPGE announced it would be developing partnerships with four women's projects, one of which is the Sisters in Spirit initiative. At NUPGE’s 2007 Triennial Convention, a resolution was passed to provide support to the projects for three additional years.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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