Marchers carry signs saying ‘Lost but not forgotten’

By Katie DeRosa, Victoria Times Colonist February 14, 2010 12:26 PM

An estimated 200 Victorians took to the streets this morning as part of a national event to remember indigenous women who are missing or have been murdered.

Victoria’s Stolen Sisters march, one of 10 such events taking place across Canada, was organized by the Native Students Union at the University of Victoria. The march, accompanied by First Nations drumming and prayers, began outside the Our Place drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue near Vancouver Street and culminated at Thunderbird Park on Belleville Street near the Royal B.C. Museum.

Marchers, many of whom held signs that said “Lost but not forgotten,” stopped at two places on Government Street where indigenous women were last seen before they disappeared. They also paused to remember 20-year-old Ariana May Simpson, who was pushed in front of a bus at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Quadra Street last February.

Trish Pal of the Native Students Union said Valentine’s Day was chosen for the march because it’s “a day to show our love, so we show our love to these women.”

Fifty-five-year old Maxine Little said she brought her five grandchildren, aged four months to 10 years, to the march so they can understand some of the issues facing indigenous women.

“I’ve been telling them about the ladies who have been going missing,” she said. “We’re thinking about them today.”

Janet Rogers, a co-organizer of the event, said she hopes the march will pressure the B.C. government into taking the issue of missing women seriously, especially given the 18 cases of missing or murdered women on the so-called “Highway of Tears” between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“For this government to not respond to this issue is an act of prejudice,” she said.

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