October 4 is a day when the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are honoured in Canada. Vigils and gatherings, estimated to be more than 100, were held across the country on Tuesday.
In Regina, a traditional pipe ceremony was held to pray for the families and the community affected by violence against women.
Jacqueline Anaquod is South Sask’s lead organizer for the Sisters in Spirit annual gathering.
“October 4th is probably the only day where we honour indigenous women in Canada, and it has to do with murdered and missing indigenous women,” said Anaquod at the Regina vigil on Treaty 4 territory.
“It is not only about creating a sacred, safe and healing space for our community members and families, but it is also about raising awareness about violence that is still on going in our city.”
The wet weather cancelled the candlelight vigil in Regina, but a candleless vigil was held indoors at First Nations University of Canada.
Community leaders, members of the Regina Police Service, and members of tribal councils got up to speak, as well as families who shared stories of what they have gone through.
“A lot of times it’s not talked about and some of the families don’t feel like talking about it, but when they hear other family members share their stories they will talk to me afterwards, they will take me aside later and they will say, ‘you know it feels so good that I’m not alone in this’, ” said Anaquod — who was affected herself when her aunt was murdered in Regina five years ago.
“A lot of these women that have been murdered or went missing, they had children. It breaks my heart because I have my own daughter and a grandchild and I couldn’t imagine them growing up without me.”