Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, issued the following statement in honour of Sisters in Spirit Day and the National Day of Action for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people:
“On Sept. 11, 2022, a monument was unveiled on Highway 16 by the Prince George Red Dress Society. The monument offers a place for families to remember and to honour the lives and legacies of the women, girls and Two-Spirit people who have been lost on the Highway of Tears.
“Everyone in our province deserves to live in safety and to have a life free from violence and yet, over the past four decades, thousands of Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or have gone missing across Canada.
“Indigenous women are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than all other women in Canada and they are 17 times more likely to be murdered on a street, highway or road.
“This is not a historical event. We know that gender-based violence, and in particular, violence toward Indigenous women and girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people remains an urgent issue in British Columbia. From Vancouver to Terrace, from Port Alberni to Williams Lake, Indigenous women continue to be taken from their families and communities.
“Today, and every day, we remain steadfast in our commitment to end violence and work together to create a safer world for Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people.
“To the families and friends of all those lost, to all the communities living with this devastation and grief, you have my deepest condolences and compassion.”
“Our government is implementing the Path Forward in response to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls to Justice, including the $5.34-million community fund, which was identified through engagement with Indigenous communities as a priority. The fund focuses on Indigenous-led capacity-building and safety planning, and aims to assist communities in envisioning what they need to create and implement their own culturally safe solutions.
“We are also developing an action plan to end gender-based violence, including prevention and services and supports for survivors so they can access the support and services they need.
“There is much more to do and the work ahead must build on the Calls to Justice and a commitment to address the systemic issues of racism, colonialism and discrimination as root causes of gender-based violence.
“In honour of the Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit and gender-diverse people who have been stolen and those who are survivors, we hold them in our hearts, and commit to ending violence against women and girls.”
Indigenous-led organization to manage, distribute safety-planning grants: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PSSG0028-000543
A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies for B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/about-bc-justice-system/inquiries/mmiw/mmiwg-status-update-2022.pdf