A large crowd gathered on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people to walk as one in honour of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women on Feb. 10.
The crowd gathered outside Our Place on Pandora Avenue for the annual Stolen Sisters Memorial March and was welcomed by the beating drums of the Tsawout youth group before the march officially began.
The march marked the 14th time the Stolen Sisters have gathered, only pausing for the 2020 pandemic.
The crowd heard speeches from Elder Elmer George, Elder May Sam, and Brianna Bear, with Lisa deWit serving as master of ceremonies.
“Today is a memorial at a time to uplift our families still searching and remind society at large that our family members are loved,” deWit said. “We’re not a nonprofit. There’s no formal organization that this originates from, just the love and dedication of a core group of women.”
The march route led the large crowd down Pandora Avenue, onto Government Street and then to the Legislature grounds.
“Today, we gather in love in a good way to support each other. Take care of each other on the march today. Sing loud at unity and let them know we are still searching,” said deWit.
The March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was also a march for missing or murdered LGBTQ2S+ people, said deWit.
“It is important to the Stolen Sisters’ voices that we acknowledge the murdered and missing two spirit and men on the Island. We uplift all souls with love.”