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Missing and murdered Aboriginal women honoured at Grande Prairie vigil

For the past eight years, October 4th has been a day to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. Here in Grande Prairie, the annual Sisters in Spirit Walk began at the Regional College and finished up at the Friendship Centre with a vigil, ceremonial dance, and a community supper. Delaine Lambert-English lost her cousin at the age of 12 and says the entire community needs to work together to keep its women safe.

“It’s also spreading awareness. People see our signs, they see us walking and we’re hopeful at the same time. It’s not always a sad thing; yes, we’re sad when we come together but we always seem to be able to leave with a little bit more hope for the future, just the opportunity to share our experiences too is very important and it’s healing.”

RCMP have found nearly 1,200 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls between 1980 and 2012 and a federal inquiry was announced earlier this year. Several local families are affected. Kelly Benning with the GPRC Circle of Aboriginal Students says more programming and education is needed to make a difference.

“There are so many tragic stories of people murdered and missing, and not a lot attention being paid to them. More recently though, people are paying attention; people are hearing.”

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She encourages Alberta Education to include Indigenous history in the curriculum, starting at a young age.

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