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Summit held on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

By Randy Thoms May 1, 2024 | 3:32 PM

The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is being spotlighted in Fort Frances this week.

Several agencies are teaming up for the first annual summit.

It was kicked off with a ceremony at Giishkaandago’Ikwe Health Services (Formally known as Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services) on Wednesday morning.

Melody Shute is a team leader with a national Ingenious training program.

She sees the summit an important event that further raises the issue’s profile.

“I think the importance is just creating more awareness of what is happening to our Indigenous women and girls and two-spirited people and what people can do to participate in reducing that violence or being aware of what is happening within our community on topics like human trafficking,” says Shute.

The event will culminate with a weekend conference that is bringing together many agencies and organizations.

Other activities raise awareness differently.

There is a youth paint night taking place this evening at 149 Idylwild Drive.

A jingle dress teaching will happen at the Fort Frances Library and Technology Centre on Thursday, with a red dress making class taking place on Sunday.

An awareness walk on Friday will see participants leave the water tower at 1 p.m.

Shute says each one of the activities takes a different approach to raising awareness.

“The youth night is focused on engaging youth and empowering youth. The jingle dress teaching is something that many people don’t know what that teaching is so to have the opportunity to come to an event and listen and listen to a youth dancer, to understand what that means to them, and just to have that sense of community, to sit and have lunch with one another after we receive the teaching, I think is really important as well.”

A National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued its report five years ago that made 231 Calls for Justice.

It revealed that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses as the root cause behind high rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.