Victoria march honours 'Stolen Sisters'
Published Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:46PM PST Last Updated Saturday, February 15, 2020 7:21PM PST
VANCOUVER -- After a week of protests across British Columbia and Canada more broadly, Saturday brought with it another large gathering in downtown Victoria.
This one, however, was not a protest, but a memorial.
Marchers assembled at Our Place Society on Pandora Avenue in B.C.'s capital city for the annual Stolen Sisters Memorial March, a gathering intended to "remember and honour Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people who have gone missing and been murdered," according to the event's organizers on Facebook.
The march began at noon with prayer and acknowledgement that the march was taking place on the traditional, unceded territories of the Lekwungen communities, Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.
Participants then marched down Pandora Avenue to Government Street, where they turned and made their way to the lawn of the B.C. legislature building. Indigenous women, youth and two-spirit drummers led the procession, according to organizers.
Helen Joe and Monica Jones held a photo of their sister as they marched.
“This is my older sister here," Jones said. "She was murdered in 1977. We found her, but we didn’t find who did it."
A hiker found Catherine Teresa Joe's body near Gibbins Road in Duncan in June 1977.
“We didn’t know what happened to her,” said Helen Joe at Saturday's march. “We were looking for her. We just want justice for her.”
The pair said the gathering is comforting to them and their family. It ensures that they don’t feel alone.
“We have more women going missing in the past couple of years, which is not good,” said Jones.
An organizer said Saturday’s march was an opportunity to bring awareness and understanding to Indigenous women in North America.
“We are here to support the friends and families whose family member has gone missing,” said Christine Lavallee.