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Events seek to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women

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An ongoing effort to bring attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women continued with a virtual conference on Feb. 26.

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Family members, Indigenous women singers and guest speakers participated.

“So many Indigenous women have gone missing and have been murdered and we have to continue to do everything we can to bring attention to this,” said Valarie King, of the Mississaugas of the Credit Nation, which organized the conference with the Manitou Mkwa (Spirit Bear) Singers. “People are more aware of it now but Indigenous women continue to go missing and are murdered and we have to do more.

“We need to keep our communities safe and we need to remember those who have been murdered or gone missing.”

King said Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking because decades of colonialism and the residential school system have made them susceptible to those who prey on the vulnerable.

Friday’s conference was part of a year-long effort that began Valentine’s Day with a sacred ceremony by the old council house on the Credit Nation. The event also included a rolling car vigil, as well as the placing of red prayer cloths on trees and signs on lawns and vehicles.

On Feb. 28, a sacred fire and feast was held at the council house and the red prayer cloths will be taken down.

Organizers have also issued a call for submissions to create a quilt to memorialize missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Plans call for the quilt to completed in time to be presented to the community at a spirit vigil on Oct. 4.

Those interested in contributing are asked to create a five-inch by five-inch quilt patch or block with a three-quarter-inch border.

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The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1. Send to Mississaugas of Credit First Nation, care of special events and culture unit, 2789 Mississauga Rd., R6 Hagersville, Ont., N0A 1H0.

For more information about the events contact Jai King-Green at .

A National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls said major changes are needed to eradicate violence against Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry, which released its final report in 2019, found that the crisis was rooted in human and Indigenous rights violations.

The inquiry’s report includes the stories of more than 2,380 family members, survivors, experts and others gathered through two years of public hearings.

The report also included 231 recommendations for governments, institutions, social service providers and others.

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