Stolen Sisters march a declaration of love

Missing aboriginal women 'lost but not forgotten,' participants say

By Katie DeRosa, Times Colonist

February 14, 2010 7:02 PM

To the sounds of First Nations drumming and a mournful version of Amazing Grace, an estimated 200 people remembered missing and murdered indigenous women at Thunderbird Park Sunday.

“We came to support and pray with other people,” said Joanne Young, who held a poster of a smiling girl with dark hair — her daughter Lisa Marie Young. Lisa Marie, then 21, disappeared in Nanaimo in 2002 after accepting a ride home from a nightclub with a stranger.

Victoria’s Stolen Sisters memorial march was one of 10 such events that took place across Canada. The local march, organized by the Native Students Union at the University of Victoria, began outside the Our Place drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue near Vancouver Street at 11 a.m. and culminated at Thunderbird Park on Belleville Street near the Royal B.C. Museum around 1 p.m.

Joanne Young and Lisa Marie’s grandmother, Cecelia Arnet, say they are tortured by the fact that her body has never been found and no one has ever been charged in her disappearance. They say that pain unites them with the other people walking in the march, as well as a shared wish that justice will be done.

Marchers, many of whom held signs that said “Lost but not forgotten,” stopped at two places on Government Street where indigenous women were last seen before they disappeared. They also paused to remember 20-year-old Ariana May Simpson, who was pushed in front of a bus at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Quadra Street last February.

Trish Pal of the Native Students Union said Valentine’s Day was chosen for the march because it’s “a day to show our love, so we show our love to these women.”

Fifty-five-year old Maxine Little said she brought her five grandchildren, ages four months to 10 years, so they can understand some of the issues facing indigenous women.

“I’ve been telling them about the ladies who have been going missing,” she said. “We’re thinking about them today.”

Janet Rogers, a co-organizer of the event, said she hopes the march will pressure the B.C. government into taking the issue of missing women seriously, especially given that 18 women have disappeared or been killed along the so-called “Highway of Tears” between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“For this government to not respond to this issue is an act of prejudice,” she said.

Read more:



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016