Council visits Sacred Fire in support of an inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women

Sacred Fire Hamilton

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and Board members Lois Frank of the Blood Reserve/Kainai Nation in Alberta and Garry John of the Seton Lake First Nation in British Columbia visited a sacred fire in Hamilton this afternoon in support of the national day of action today calling for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. Council of Canadians supporters, chapter activists, Board members and staff will also visit the sacred fire again later today.

Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population but account for 16 per cent of murdered women and 11.3 per cent of missing women in Canada. APTN reported in May that over the past 30 years, 1,026 Indigenous women have been murdered and 160 are missing. Sadly those numbers only continue to increase.

The Council of Canadians has repeatedly called for a national inquiry to take place. The three opposition parties agree that an inquiry is needed to understand the root causes of this and to develop a national action plan, but the Harper government has refused to convene one.

The Hamilton Spectator reported late yesterday, "There will be a protest in front of the John Sopinka Courthouse at Main Street East and John Street South in downtown Hamilton. It is expected to run Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are also plans to light a sacred fire in the middle of the road and draw chalk outlines to symbolize the 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. The Hamilton event is being organized by the Hamilton Men's Healing Circle."

"A group of Six Nations [located near Hamilton] women will also be calling attention to the inquiry this weekend, but with a community meal. The Sisters in Spirit Committee will hold a dinner, candlelight vigil and water ceremony Saturday. It begins at 5 p.m. and will be held at Honouring the Circle on Rosedene Avenue, just east of the Claremont Access."

And the Canadian Press reports, "Protesters calling for action on missing and murdered aboriginal women have closed stretches of two highways in Ontario. Provincial police say demonstrators have blocked part of Highway 6 between Caledonia and Hagersville and at the Skyway Bridge on Highway 49 connecting Tyendinaga Territory and Prince Edward County. ...Six Nations Men's Fire, which is organizing the planned two-day Highway 6 closure, is calling on the federal government to hold an inquest into the matter."

"The protests come on what's billed as a national day of vigil for missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls." There are news reports about vigils in Saint John, St. John's, Moncton, Montreal, Brampton, Timmins and numerous other cities.

Further reading
Council of Canadians calls for national action on murdered and missing Indigenous women
Harper at odds with calls for inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women
Barlow stands in solidarity with blockade of CN Rail demanding national inquiry