Focusing attention on the crisis of murdered and missing Aboriginal women.
Ottawa (8 Oct. 2010) – Members of the Advisory Committee on Women's Issues of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) attended the fifth annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil on October 4. They were among more than 400 people in attendance to honour murdered and missing Aboriginal women and their families.
Those in attendance heard from several speakers including the president of the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC). Several members of the families of the murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls gave testiominals on the effect of losing their loved one.
A joint statement was read calling for a national action plan for Aboriginal women that understands that Aboriginal women face violence because they are Aboriginal and because they are women. The statement also calls for elevating Aboriginal women's social status by closing the the economic and social gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. The joint statement was supported by the NWAC, Amnesty International Canada, KAIROS, Assembly of First Nations and NUPGE, among several other organizations.
In addition to the Vigil on Parliament Hill, there were 83 other Vigils held across Canada and internationally. The vigils provide support to grieving families and provide opportunities for them to heal. The events also draw attention to this crisis, educate the public and put pressure on all levels of government to act.
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 and girls who have either disappeared or have been found murdered in Canada over the past few decades. The SIS initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to these disappearances and deaths.
In March 2010, NWAC released a report entitled What Their Stories Tells Us which provides evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada.
For more information about the Sister in Spirit Initiative visit the NWAC website.
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
• Sisters in Spirit
• Joint Statement
• Addtional Photos from the Ottawa Vigil