This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
An education student at St. Francis Xavier University, Ashley Julian, stood in the middle of empty shoes on Friday, though they weren’t hers. She explained that “they symbolize all the missing aboriginal women and the shoes they left behind.” It was elucidated that the shoes have been collected from Antigonish during the past week, and will now be sent to rural aboriginal communities in Labrador and Nunavut to be handed out. And there are a lot of shoes heading north.
Sisters in Spirit organization organized similar events all over Canada on Friday. Each vigil included an important call for a federal public inquiry into the more than 600 cases of missing aboriginal women and girls, stressing on a reference from a document published by the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The document stated that “such a response is necessary to address the scale and severity of violence faced by aboriginal women and girls.” It was added that “together, we must demand action and secure commitments from all levels of government.”
The association claims that aboriginal women are 15 times more likely to experience violence when compared to other Canadians. Concluding a morning event at St. F.X., Julian alleged that “it’s about bringing communities together and spreading the message that we must be heard.” It was further added that “in terms of changing the pattern of violence, we’re not necessarily making progress, yet. But we’re raising awareness and that will lead to change.”