Kings County Advertiser and Register
Students at Acadia University are hosting the fourth annual Sisters in Spirit (SIS) Vigil on Oct. 4 to honour Aboriginal women and girls.
The event also aims to support families who have been tragically touched by the loss of loved ones to violence.
At the request of local chiefs, said Dr. Cynthia Alexander, this year's vigil will also include missing aboriginal men, boys, and families. This is the ninth year that Sisters in Spirit Vigils have been held across Canada in October.
To raise awareness, some Acadia students have collected new and gently used shoes, as well as red dresses, to create an art installation in the Irving Centre. This installation will represent more than 600 missing aboriginal women and girls, and untold number of missing men, boys, and families across Canada.
The public is invited to drop off shoes at Welkaqnik, Aboriginal Gathering Space in the DeWolfe House located at 52 University Avenue, or to bring them directly to the foyer of the centre on Oct. 4. After the vigil, the shoes will be donated to aboriginal communities in Nunavut and Labrador.
Darlene Copeland and Natalie Doucette of Mi'kmaq Family and Children Services are the lead organizers of the community-driven event that attracts Mi'kmaw community members from across the province.
Alexander, a professor who has helped the Indigenous Student Society of Acadia and students co-ordinate this event, said that vigils like this are important because they help to raise awareness to this issue. She points out that, “this past summer, the federal government has rejected calls from the premiers of Canada, as well as international calls for a national inquiry into violence against Aboriginal women and girls.”
The events are taking place from 4-7 p.m., starting at Welkaqnik, the Aboriginal Gathering Space on Campus (52 University Avenue) then moving in a walk of remembrance around campus and down to KCIC Garden Room for the vigil.
Last year's vigil attracted about 100 people and Alexander said that event co-organizers are hoping for an even larger turnout this year.