HWY21Hub Staff

Hundreds of people took part in the annual Take Back the Night march on Wednesday evening. The march started at the Kabaeshiwim Respite Women's Shelter at Saugeen First Nation and followed down Highway 21 to the ceremonial fire circle, next to the Wesley United Church, where people could participate in a tobacco offering and smudge and offer a prayer.

Members from Unifor arrived at Saugeen First Nation in three buses to show their support.

“This is Sisters In Spirit and Take Back the Night,” said Wesley United Church Minister, Kevin Hart. “Sisters In Spirit is the umbrella that we honour and recognize in terms of doing these vigils,” he said. “The national Sisters In Spirit vigil happens on October 4th and we try and work around that, whatever works for the community.”

The Native Women's Association of Canada NWAC is a lead organizer in Sisters In Spirit vigils, a national movement that encourages concerned citizens and Aboriginal community members to gather.
October 4th is dedicated to honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and to support families who have been tragically touched by the loss of a loved one to violence. Vigils take many forms: a rally, a candlelight vigil, a workshop, a moment of silence, a walk, or a gathering of people to share memories and a meal.

“This is the sixth year and it's definitely growing,” said Hart. “People recognize how important this is and is now something to commemorate.”

“I think we started with 20 people, then the year after it grew to 30 and now it's lots,” said organizer Cheryl George. “People are becoming more aware and concerned and supportive and they're here for us.”

Joyce Johnston, Saugeen First Nation's former mental health and addictions councillor, had arrived to Saugeen First Nation from Cape Croker to support the march. “We celebrate every October 4th. We try to get the young women of the community to get involved by doing posters for us and it's good research for them so they know what it's about before they get there,” she said.

“We always do a candlelight vigil as it has its own atmosphere and so Take Back the Night is about women feeling safe. I never did feel really comfortable walking around the dark but every now and again you have to and so you just like to feel safe doing that.”

Food at the church for everyone and a candlelight vigil followed the march.CrowdHoney JohnLadiesCircle