On May 5th, communities across Canada came together to mark MMIWG (Missing and Murders Indigenous Women and Girls) Day. In Fort Frances, the Rainy River First Nation hosted the event which started with a drum ceremony at the Rainy River First Nation Band office, followed by a march along the highway, taking the crowd to the Rainy River First Nations Pow Wow grounds.
Facts about MMIWG were shared to the gathering, including how Indigenous girls and women are 16 times more likely to be murdered compared to non-indigenous women and girls. According to Government of Canada’s Justice “Just Facts” data, in 2014 murder rates for Indigenous women were almost six times higher compared to non-indigenous women.
Moving speeches were made by several community leaders including Jessica Wilson of Binesiwag Centre for Wellness, Chief Marcel Medicine-Horton, and Mayor Andrew Hallikas. The words shared expressed personal reflections and experiences, hopes for change in the future, and a recognition of those who have lost Indigenous wives, mothers, daughters and sisters. Stories relating to spirituality were also shared, including a retelling of the creation story and how actions on earth are judged when people meet the Creator again.
The gathering, ceremonies, and protest brought the community together but also brought out strong emotions. Chief Marcel Medicine-Horton became emotional as he was presented with a jingle dress created by a local artist with the names of local missing and murdered Indigenous women noted on the individual jingles.
NWO Voices was proud to be a part of this important event.