Seventh annual memorial march meets despite bitter cold
For the families of missing and murdered native women, Valentine’s Day acts as a reminder of what they’ve lost.
“They say, ‘There was one day of the year we’re receiving roses, chocolates, kisses, hugs—but we don’t anymore because we lost a loved one,’” Innu spokesperson Michèlle Audette said of those families to the crowd outside St. Laurent Metro on Sunday.
Despite the strong winds and temperatures dipping as low as -40 C with the windchill, hundreds of people gathered in Montreal for the annual Memorial March for Missing Murdered Women and Girls. This march was one of the many happening across the country.
Montreal-based groups The Buffalo Hat Singers and Odaya performed to the crowd before the march started. The participants walked north on St. Laurent Boulevard and passing dozens of red dresses on fences and lamp posts representing the missing and murdered native women. The group stopped before Sherbrooke Street and occupied the street, playing music and dancing to keep warm as police directed traffic away from the area.
This was the seventh annual event to take place in Montreal. The original Memorial March for Missing Murdered Women and Girls started in Vancouver in 1991 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman that received little attention from police or media, according to Justice for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, a Montreal-based grassroots movement.