Monday, January 04, 2010

Canadian Women Want Action

Wouldn't you think 500 missing women would be cause for some action. Women in Vancouver are tired of waiting for the Canadian government to investigate just why so many cases of missing women go unsolved. They want action from the Federal government. They want something done. Yesterday some of them gathered in a public park to demand a public investigation.

The following is from

Protesters demand inquiry into missing aboriginal women

Monday, January 4th, 2010 | 4:00 am

Canwest News Service

VANCOUVER – More than 100 women rallied in Crab Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Sunday to demand the federal government listen to their plea for a public inquiry into the more than 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women cases across Canada.

“We’ve asked and asked again but there is no answer,” said Bernie Williams, a native elder and activist.

There are 520 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada, according to the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

The smell of smudged sage filled the cold January air as the women lit 520 tea light candles and placed them in a circle around a stone memorial erected in memory of Vancouver’s missing women.

Many women shivered in the cold as they held hands in a circle around the memorial as a sombre native drumbeat cut through the silence.

Dressed in a red and black robe, native elder Eunice McMillan came to march and play a traditional drum song.

“We want to know why so many of the missing women cases in Canada remain unsolved,” said McMillan.

Williams co-founded an organization called Walk 4 Justice, an annual long- distance walk to Prince Rupert from Vancouver to raise awareness about the unsolved cases of missing and murdered women from northern B.C. in an area that has been dubbed the Highway of Tears.

Despite their many efforts to raise awareness, the women say the government is indifferent to their plight.

“I can’t even begin to estimate how many more women have gone unnoticed. Why has it taken Canada so long to act?”

Williams said she was at Crab Park Sunday to honour her niece, Tamara Chipman, who is one of the 18 victims on the RCMP’s Highway of Tears list. The mother of a toddler was last seen in 2005.

“You see so much sadness, and that sadness in your heart really gets you angry,” said Williams.

She also wanted to pay respect to several of the women she knew from the Downtown Eastside who were on the missing women list linked to the Robert (Willie) Pickton case.

Shelly Gershuni, 21, of Johannesburg, South Africa was visiting her friend Erin Duiron, 19, in Vancouver and thought it was important to show support for the women.

“These are strong women fighting for a good cause,” said Gershuni.

The women ended theirrally by marching to Main and Hastings from Crab Park.

Last fall, the Manitoba government created a task force to investigate cases of missing and murdered women. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2008 also voiced concern about hundreds of unsolved cases of missing aboriginal women in Canada.

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