Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
24 Waterloo

Sisters In Spirit vigils

October 4th, 2013, marks the seventh annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil.  From 11 participating communities in 2006, the movement has grown to 190 vigils across Canada in 2013 including event in 52 Ontario communities.  The vigil honours the lives of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls.  Participants pay tribute to the families of these women, who insisted that the lives of their loved ones not be forgotten.  The vigils are also an opportunity to demand action from all levels of government, asking that they work with Aboriginal women and representative organizations to end the violence.

Sisters in Spirit was originally launched by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), and the vigils are held in partnership with Amnesty International Can ada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice, National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). OSSTF/FEESO members are encouraged to participate in Sisters in Spirit vigils in solidarity with these organizations and in support of the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers and their families. Vigils take many forms: a rally, a candle - light vigil, a workshop, a moment of silence, a walk, or a gathering of people to share memories and a meal. At each event, a joint statement of solidarity is read and this statement can be found on the NWAC website,
http://www.nwac.ca/programs/2013-joint-statement.


In 2012, NWAC launched a petition that calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to hold a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Such an inquiry is a crucial first step in the development and implementa
tion of a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan. The petition also demands the involvement of Aboriginal women in the inquiry and the design of the action plan. More than 10,000 signatures have been collected and will be submitted to the federal government on October 18, 2013.