I have been working with Indigenous communities in various capacities for many years. It wasn’t until I started working at BWSS in 2016 that I truly grasped the underpinnings and reasons why Indigenous women and girls are more vulnerable to violence and abuse. I didn’t realize the extent to which it pervades our communities and society. Oppression is systemic, and when I march, I stand against those systems that allow missing and murdered women to go unnoticed and without justice.
After attending the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry in Vancouver and participating in rallies, gatherings, and marches for the families of missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, I witnessed the injustice and its pervasive, ongoing nature. I also observed the remarkable strength and courage of the survivors and families enduring such unthinkable and unfathomable experiences without receiving answers or justice. It angers me profoundly, and this is why I march!
I want justice. I want education. I want change. Justice means Indigenous women and girls’ experiences of violence with utmost respect and dignity. It requires holding all agencies accountable and uprooting their oppressive roots. Rather than disempowering with inequality and judgment, they should receive earnest care, support, and due process. Their experiences must be taken seriously and they should be cared for in a culturally appropriate manner.
Many sacrifices have been made by families, workers, advocates, and our community to raise awareness, and I march for them. The failings and biases are evident, and their persistence is perilous. The march acknowledges the remarkable strength and resilience of our women warriors and community warriors, who have devoted their time, efforts, and lives to bringing peace to those who are no longer with us, those who still suffer, and those who lack a choice. It’s where we mourn, walk, sing, heal, and pray together, shedding light on injustice in some small way.
Join BWSS on February 14th as we march alongside Indigenous Leaders to honour the MMIWG2S+
Michelle LaBoucane, Indigenous Women’s Counsellor at BWSS