Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) invited the community to join them Thursday morning for a 5-km memorial walk on National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2 Spirit People (MMIWG2S).
Participants were welcomed at the TFN recreation center where Elder Qw'estanya (Ruth Adams) said an opening prayer and reflected raising her four daughters at a time of fear and uncertainty.
“It was really hard for me when they would go out without telling me where they were, then jump in a car and go everywhere,” she said. “I told them I’m going to find you in the ditches dead because that’s what was happening to these women, if you’re even lucky enough to be found. Sometimes (the victims) were taken off into the mountains or somewhere else where they were sexually abused and tortured.
“The reason why I say this is the Indian Act took away who we were and the women were matriarchal. They were the leaders before settlers came here.”
Another song and prayer followed before the participants braved the unseasonable weather conditions to proceed with the 5-km walk that took them around Tsawwassen Mills Mall before returning to the TFN recreation centre for refreshments.
The community was invited to participate this year with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions at TFN.
Also known as Red Dress Day, MMIWG2S National Day of Awareness is annually held on May 5 to remember and honour the victims, as well as for all Canadians to take action.