Once again I joined many families to remember and honor our loved ones who are missing and murdered. The hall was full and posters adorned the wall. Several family members spoke, others drummed and sang and danced. October 4 was declared Sisters in Spirit Day in Alberta. Various politicians urged government to take concerns seriously, to help prevent continuing mistreatment of Indigenous people, to bring justice to victims of crimes not yet solved, and to implement the many changes called for in the MMIWG report.
Someone acknowledged the mothers and grandmothers who have kept the stories alive over the generations. and for that, I felt validated. I have carried the torch for over 20 years and am encouraged as new people to join the cause in cities across Canada and the United States. I am reassured that awareness will grow and change continue.
Significant news earlier this week was that child victims who died in the residential school system were identified for the first time. A ceremony held in Gatineau, Quebec named 2800 children. Another 1600 are believed to have died but remain unnamed with hundreds more who vanished with documentation. The numbers are similar to the MMIWG.
And yet the names listed, e.g. Ada, Ada, Ada, Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam, Albert, Albert, Albert, Alice, Alice, Alice, Catherine, Catherine, Catherine, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, David, David, David, Emma, Emma, Emma, over 80 John or Johnny, over 60 Marie, over 110 Mary, etc. suggest the children’s identities may already have been altered before they died. The last names reflect a variety of ethnicity and only family members are to know the details. My feeling is that, as with the MMIWG, more public information would be appropriate.