Sisters in Spirit Vigil October 4

The fifth annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil will take place October 4 across Canada to honour murdered and missing Aboriginal women and their families.

Sisters in Spirit (SIS) is an initiative launched by the Native Womens Association of Canada (NWAC) to address the issue of the hundreds of Aboriginal women and girls who have either disappeared or have been found murdered in Canada over the past few decades. The SIS initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to these disappearances and deaths.

In March 2010, NWAC released a report entitled What Their Stories Tell Us which provides evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada.

For the past five years, NWAC has held vigils on Oct. 4 to honour the lives of these women and girls. In 2009, 72 vigils were held across Canada. The vigils provide support to grieving families and seek to provide opportunities for them to heal.

The events are also used to draw attention to this crisis, educate the public and to put pressure on all levels of government to act.

This year the National Unions Advisory Committee on Womens Issues will be attending the vigil on Parliament Hill in conjunction with their committee meeting. Region 1 Director Suzanne Bennett represents HSA on the committee.

-The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is deeply committed to womens equality and ending violence against women," says NUPGE national president James Clancy.

-Many of our members work on the frontlines and see the effects of violence and poverty on Aboriginal women," he notes.

-For the past four years the National Union and our Advisory Committee on Womens Issues have been involved in providing support to SIS in its struggle for a future in which Aboriginal women and girls are free from the threat of violence. I am encouraging all Canadians to take part in the Oct. 4 Vigil and help bring attention to this national tragedy."

For more information about the Sister in Spirit Initiative visit the NWAC website. Locations for this years vigils can be located by clicking here or the link below.

BC locations include Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Massett, Moricetown, Nanaimo, Penticton, Port Alberni, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Queen Charlotte, Squamish, Vancouver, Vanderhoof, and White Rock.

NUPGE International Womens Projects

At the National Unions 2006 conference, Building International Sisterhood, NUPGE announced it would be developing partnerships with four women's projects, one of which is the Sisters in Spirit initiative. At NUPGEs 2007 Triennial Convention, a resolution was passed to provide support to the projects for three additional years.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. HSA is a component of NUPGE.

More information:
• Sisters in Spirit
• 2010 SIS Vigil Locations