February 14 marks the annual memorial march in honour of the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls & 2SLGBTQQIA. It is also a day to lift grassroots efforts, including the voices of survivors of violence, communities and family members who have lost loved ones to this ongoing genocide.
This is an important day to demonstrate our strength, resiliency, and collective power in the face of systems, rooted in colonial violence, that continue to place Indigenous women, girls & 2SLGBTQQIA at greater risk for violence. It is an ongoing genocide that has been acknowledged by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, several UN bodies, Sisters in Spirit, the Native Women Association of Canada, Quebec Native Women, several other organizations, survivors of violence, and family members & communities who continue to seek justice for loved ones who have been murdered or gone missing.
As we are witnessing the current illegal occupation in Ottawa, it is becoming even more clear to the public that systems designed to protect us are riddled with systemic racism. This was noted in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and girls, who identified specific Calls for Justice related to policing. It is grounded in the practice of “othering” that results in the kind of apathy and dehumanization of Indigenous women, girls & 2SLQBTQQIA individuals justifying the continual staling of the implementation of the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. This is despite increasing rates of violence that has occurred during the pandemic, frequently resulting in death.
So, as we march today or find other ways to honour our sisters, aunties, grandmothers, daughters, and two spirit relatives, let us send our love to those recovering from the impacts of violence, relatives we continue to search for, eternal power to those we have loved. We will not be silenced, marginalized, or abused. We are powerful in all our beauty and strength.