“Let’s break the silence because we can”

MMIWG awareness walk began at Kwah Hall and participants walked through the district while singing and drumming. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
A red dress hangs on a tree near Spirit Square on Friday, August 8. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
A young boy holds a sign for missing Bonnie Joseph. Joseph was last seen on Sept. 8, 2007 in Vanderhoof, B.C. and was reported missing in December.
Walk attendees smear their hands with red paint. A red handprint across the mouth is a symbolic representation of violence affecting indigenous women in Canada. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
A sign at the walk read — “Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered/missing than other women in Canada.” (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
(Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
(Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
(Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
MMIWG poster. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
Ruby Prince talks about her experiences as an Indigenous woman. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)

A Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Walk was held in Fort St. James this past weekend.

“I am the fourth generation of a silence keeper,” Ruby Prince said. Prince said these words at Spirit Square after the walk had gone through town on Aug. 7, starting at Kwah Hall.

“I was taught at a very young age to keep the silence. Through sexual, mental, physical and emotional abuse. Today, I stand and tell my story proudly,” she said to a crowd of listeners participating in the Walk.

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada is “disproportionately” high.

Even though indigenous women only make up four percent of the total female population in Canada, they represent 10 percent of the total women missing in the country, according to a Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women report made by the RCMP in 2015,

At the walk in Fort St. James, women carried red dresses which are used to honor, remember and bring awareness to the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Prince said she personally has family that are missing and murdered.

“When I am up town and I see people on the street, I think about Margaret and every time I think of her, tears come to my eyes because she was such a beautiful woman who didn’t deserve to die,” she said.

Margaret (Duncan) was reported missing on Jan 3. Police said Duncan was last seen on Dec. 31, 2019 in downtown Fort St. James.

On Jan 8, residents from Fort St. James and Nak’azdli Whut’en began a community search for missing 56-year-old Margaret Duncan from Cottonwood Park.

Later that afternoon, Duncan was found dead in front of the Fort Forum Arena.

READ MORE: Federal delay of MMIWG action plan sparks dismay ahead of inquiry anniversary

“We all know people like this. It is up to us to stand up and say what it is we are doing today. It is up to us to move forward in bringing in a generation of silence keeper breakers,” Prince said.

“We want to talk. We want to talk about the sexual abuse. We want to talk about the physical abuse, the emotional, mental abuse. We want to bring them up in the forefront, so we don’t have to face anymore missing and murdered women. We know its no longer just women. We have men who are going missing now too. We have to acknowledge that piece as well.”

Miranda Free, another participant at the walk said the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women affects all Canadians.

“A little food for thought — there is a direct co-relation between violence against women and the stability of the government. So this is an issue. A Canadian issue, not just a First Nations issue,” Free said.

READ MORE: Online threats, racism causing fear for Indigenous women: MMIWG commissioner

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read