Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks Sisters in Spirit Vigil by Calling for Immediate Action to Support Indigenous Women and Families

Published: Oct 04, 2017News

October 4, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde marked October 4, a day when Sisters in Spirit Vigils are held across the country in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), by calling for immediate action to achieve safety, security and justice for Indigenous women and girls and their families.

“Indigenous women and girls have an equal right to live in a safe and secure environment,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde who is attending a vigil today in Ottawa. “Ending violence against women and girls is a priority every day. The AFN Chiefs in Assembly passed a resolution this summer calling for a reset and change to the mandate and process of the inquiry. We ask that the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls take a ‘families first’ approach in all its work. We are seeking immediate action, support and resources for those affected while the Inquiry continues its important work.”

“Today, we honour and lift up our daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers and families. We convey our love and support to the families of missing and murdered First Nations women. I ask that all Canadians stand with us today to support change and reconciliation.”

“Indigenous women are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than another woman,” Chair of the AFN Women’s Council Grand Chief Denise Stonefish said. “It is important to acknowledge that these women often leave behind family and loved ones. The October 4th annual vigils continue to support the families of Sisters in Spirit and serves as a reminder that the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls must end. This day honours the lives of MMIWG and remembers our Sisters everywhere.”

Sisters in Spirit Vigils, hosted for the first time in 2006 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, takes place internationally every October 4 to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and facilitates healing for families. In 2006 there were 11 vigils. In 2014 there were 216, and the numbers continue to grow.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.


For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (cell)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
[email protected]