Providing a time for reflection, the fourth annual Spirit Candle Vigil and Walk is set to take place on Thursday, recognizing the victimization of aboriginal women.
“The purpose is to share awareness of how many aboriginal girls and women are missing and murdered over the years,” key organizer Donna Soles said.
Hoping for the biggest turnout yet, Soles plans to help spread the message that it’s not only street people that go missing — it’s everyone, young and old.
“There are young kids (that go missing) — they don’t work the streets,” she said, adding that she’s offended by the blanket belief that only prostitutes have been affected.
Although the event is focused on violence against aboriginal women, Soles said that men often turn up to show their support.
“They remember that they have to help as well,” she said. “They want to reduce the violence.”
The focus on aboriginal women is due to their over-representation in cases of missing and murdered people, though it can affect anyone, Soles said.
As such, everyone is invited to attend Thursday’s event.
“You don’t have to be aboriginal to be at the event,” she said. “It’s just to help the women.”
An important component of the event is also to help raise awareness on a government level, she said, with the underlying message that more needs to be done to find missing aboriginal women before they wind up dead.
Prince Albert’s walk is one of 100 taking place across the nation, including fellow Saskatchewan-based walks in Saskatoon, Regina, Onion Lake and La Ronge.
This is the first time Prince Albert’s event is taking place during the day, in hopes of attracting more people.
The walk will begin at noon, at the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre of Prince Albert. Participants will walk down Central Avenue to the Prince Albert Historical Museum, and up First Avenue East back to the Friendship Centre.
A candlelight vigil will be held at the the Friendship Centre’s upstairs gymnasium, where a number of guests will speak, including Mayor Jim Scarrow, Beverly Benson, Donna Gamble, Rhoda Peekeekoot, Connie Farber and Soles.