Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PHOTOS: Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women

Montreal, Monday February 14, 2011. On drum-rolls and chants exposing missing justice and a lack of police investigation into crimes of hate, this Valentine's day about 200 people marched along Ste-Catherines' street in memory of the numerous Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. The protesters gathered in front of the Cabot Square and  marched to the Philips Square for the many mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts who are missed. Their message? Denouncing last November's government cuts to the Sisters in Spirit program. 

According to, since the 1980's, between 583 and 3000 Indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. Created in 2004, Sisters in Spirit has worked to raise awareness on and compile data about violence against Native women and girls in Canada. Their funding was recently dropped in favour of the government's new idea of safety for women, including requirements for enhanced police power.

The catch 22 is that the police themselves are implicated in a number of documented violent altercations with Native women. Combined with the fact that the new program will not be backed by research and data collection, this move doesn't do much to reinstate trust between the Native communities and police.

Marches were organized by various groups in all Canadian metropols. On Parliament hill, Liberal MPs stood alongside the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls for the Sisters in Spirit’s First Annual Day of Justice rally, adding pressure on the conservative government to reinstate funding to Sisters in Spirit. The program had been put in place by the previous Liberal government.

 For more information and upcoming events, please visit MISSINGJUSTICE.CA

*Select photos were featured in the Minority Rights publication State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2011, on the Missing Justice blog as well as the Journalists for Human Rights Concordia Art Exhibit.


  1. my name is to the late Mona Wilson....we thank you all for your solidarity and understanding...we ask you to educate the others and set them free as well....jf

  2. dear Jayson Fleury, I am deeply sorry for your loss. there are so many tragedies encapsulated by your sister's death. I can't begin to imagine how betrayed you feel by a society that lets that happen. we need marches like these and people like you to speak out about the injustices, and together bring enough awareness so other families are spared the same faith.

  3. How can i get ahold of this person irena gaber as i cannot find this person online...plz email me at:
    your comments were piwerful...jf

  4. I am producing a very modestly budgeted community documentary with my reserve, Pic River Ojibway First Nation, that focuses on the connection between loss of Indigenous knowledge and health, including mental and emotional health outcomes such as domestic violence. I was wondering if I could use one of your photos in the documentary. It is the photo of the protest march with the women at the front carrying the large banner. I can be reached at

  5. hey James! Sorry for the delay, I'll get in touch shortly by email. Sounds like a very interesting project!