Honouring Our Sisters in Spirit: National Day of Action for MMIWG2S

—By Desirée Thériault

An Indigenous woman looking back over her shoulder

On October 4th, we come together to observe the Sisters in Spirit National Day of Action, a day dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People (MMIWG2S). This important day serves as a reminder of the ongoing crisis facing Indigenous women across Turtle Island and a call to action for all of us to support and stand in solidarity with those affected.

Let's take a moment to reflect on some facts about MMIWG2S. Did you know that:

  • Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be murdered than other women in Canada.
  • That's 16 times more likely than Caucasian women.
  • Nearly 50% of the MMIWG2S cases in Canada remain unsolved.
  • 73% of Two-Spirited individuals have experienced some form of violence.
  • 16.5% of offenders have no prior connection to the victim, compared to only 6% of murdered non-Aboriginal women killed by strangers.

These harsh realities persist, exemplified by the recent controversy surrounding Searching the Landfill for three Long Plain First Nation women, Harris - 39, Myran - 26, and Mashkode Bizhiki'ikwe (Buffalo Woman), who were stolen from their families by a serial killer. Indigenous women continue to bear the disproportionate burden of being overlooked and dismissed.

A red handprint on a red background with faces of Indigenous women and girls in circles

October 4th isn't just any date on the calendar—it was chosen with intention.

It falls within the time when Indigenous communities gather for the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil. It's a moment when candles are lit to honour those who have gone missing or lost their lives. It was initiated by the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and has since gained international recognition.

So, How Can We Show Our Support?

Raise Awareness: The first step in addressing the crisis of MMIWG2S is to spread awareness about it. Share information on social media, participate in local events, and engage in discussions with friends and family.

Support Indigenous-Led Initiatives: Numerous organizations, such as NWAC and Drag the Red, work tirelessly to address this issue. Consider donating to these organizations or volunteering your time to support their efforts.

Advocate for Policy Change: Write a letter to your local MP or provincial/territorial government to take action on this issue. Advocate for policies that address the Calls for Justice for MMIWG2S and support the safety and well-being of Indigenous women.

Honour the Memory of MMIWG2S: Take a moment on October 4th to honour the memory of those who have been lost. Attend local vigils or light a candle at home to show solidarity and respect.

Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about the history, culture, and challenges faced by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Understanding the context is essential for meaningful engagement and support. Read the Calls for Justice developed through the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S.

Listen and Amplify Indigenous Voices: One of the most important things we can do is listen to Indigenous people's voices. Amplify their stories, experiences, and calls for justice.

Take this day as a reminder of the urgent need to address the crisis facing Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals. By raising awareness, supporting Indigenous-led initiatives, advocating for policy change, and honouring those affected, we can work toward a future where all Indigenous women and girls are safe, valued, and heard.


NWAC Violence Against Aboriginal Women

NWAC Annual Sisters in Spirit Event

Desirée Thériault, Partner | Senior Landscape Designer