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'This violence must stop, starting with us'

The 11th annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls happens February 14
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Women hug during the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women held Feb. 14, 2017 in front of the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the public is invited to join the 11th annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls at the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse, 426 Queen St. E. The inclusive event begins at noon with speeches, songs, and prayers in order to commemorate and call attention to the disproportionately high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.

A news release issued about the march states that “the RCMP's 2015 updated report, Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, 1,017 Indigenous women have been murdered over the past 30 years. There are 174 Indigenous women who were missing, and 111 of those cases were under suspicious circumstances yet remain unsolved. Statistics Canada (2011) reported rates of violence against Indigenous women is three times higher than for non-Indigenous women, and seven times higher for homicide rates. The RCMP states these databases are incomplete and need more regular updating.”

From the Courthouse, participants will march along Queen Street East to The Summit (302 Queen St. E.) for a sharing circle facilitated by elder Dorothy Elie. Lunch will also be provided.

Those joining the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are encouraged to wear red or regalia, and to dress according to weather conditions.

“The Memorial March organizers stand in solidarity with all who have been affected by this issue,” the news release reads. “We also call on our brothers, sisters, and supporters across the globe to make the sacredness of the lives of Indigenous women, girls, LGBT2S, boys, and men a priority.”

“Gendered and colonial violence implicates all of us who live on Indigenous land and territories. Let us walk to honour those who are missing and murdered, and say that today this violence must stop, starting with us.”