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October 4, 2021
OTTAWA – The following is a statement from Lorraine Whitman, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), to mark the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigils that will take place in communities across Canada today and the NWAC Vigil which will be live-streamed at 2 pm EDT at https://www.facebook.com/NWAC.AFAC/.
“This is the day of the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil, when people across the country will take time to reflect on the violence that has been, and continues to be, inflicted upon Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people – violence that a National Inquiry has determined to be a genocide.
Today I stand with the families of the victims – the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, aunties and friends – who have lost loved ones to this violence. Today, at vigils all across Canada, we will reflect on what it is like to know that a woman we love will never again walk through our doors, that we will never again hear her voice on the phone, that her chair will forever remain empty at family gatherings.
We at the Native Women’s Association of Canada have a plan for ending the violence. Our plan responds to the 231 Calls for Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. We are calling on governments to take their own actions to stop this tragedy. We are calling on all Canadians to demand that this genocide comes to an end.
But, most of all, today, we are reaching out to those who are suffering, we are holding them in our thoughts and our prayers and, where we can, we are holding them physically and saying you do not walk alone. We are by your side, holding you up as you grieve for the ones you have lost. And we call on the spirits of those who have been taken to be at peace, and to dance in the light of those who love you.”
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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.