2nd Annual MMIWG Walk in Orangeville sees increase in support

October 7, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The community came together to show their support on Monday (Oct. 4) during the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIWG).

A little over 30 people gathered at the Dufferin County Courthouse before marching to Town Hall for the 2nd Annual MMIWG Walk in Orangeville.

Event organizer and Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) co-founder, Debbie Sipkema, said she was thrilled with the turnout and the community’s response.

She told the Citizen she hopes it helped to spread awareness about MMIWG within the town and shed light on the severity of the issue. 

“I think the big key thing is the importance of women and the importance of protecting women… that’s really what MMIWG is all about,” said Sipkema. “There’s also the importance of pushing governments to look into these murders.”

Indigenous women and girls are five times more likely to experience violence than any other population within Canada and the violence tends to result in serious harm, according to the Assembly of First Naitons (AFN).

While Indigenous women represent just 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population, they represent 16 per cent of all female homicide victims and 11 per cent of missing women.

Sipkema told the Citizen, there’s a couple instances of missing Indigenous women from Orangeville in the late 60s who have yet to be found.

At the MMIWG event, there was a sharing circle where participants reflected on the issue of Indigenous women and girls being disproportionately impacted by violence, as well as shared their reason for attending.

Sipkema said she was thrilled to see that there were a couple of children in attendance, who participated in the sharing circle.

“Those two little kids, they blew me out of the water,” she remarked. “It was incredible listening to them speak, and the passion that they have.”

Sipkema added that educating the youth and strengthening their understanding is important for making progress on the issue of MMIWG.

With last year’s event seeing 20 participants, Sipkema noted that she was thrilled to see a 50 per cent increase with about 30 this year. She added that it was especially encouraging to see many more Indigenous women participating in this year’s walk as well.

“That’s where the power is,” she said. “It isn’t about me, it’s about the indigenous woman and standing with them… because it’s an atrocity that these women are out there. Nobody knows that they’ve been murdered. Nobody knows anything, because the media doesn’t cover that stuff.”

Going forward, Sipkema said she hopes public pressure for calls to action with respect to MMIWG grow, and that the annual walk gains momentum each year.

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