Community members gathered across from the Smithers RCMP Detachment yesterday (Thursday) to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for Red Dress Day.
According to organizers, it was a scaled back event and residents were asked to show their support by wearing red and bringing signs.
Drums also were brought but were laid to rest while the families grieved their loved ones.
According to co-organizer Kayla Mitchell, her mom lost two of her best friends along the Highway of Tears, Ramona Wilson and Delphine Nikal.
Ramona Wilson’s body was found near the Smithers Airport in a wooded area.
According to Mitchell, Ramona was a saving grace for her mother and she changed her life around and planned to become a psychologist.
Mitchell explained the significance of Red Shirt Day.
“We’re making sure that the voices of those that are gone too soon are heard and that we continue to pressure our federal government, our municipalities and our communities to not stand for violence against Indigenous women and women in general,” she said.
Mitchell added when it comes to change there needs to be Indigenous voices heard in this age of reconciliation.
She also said hosting the event across from the RCMP detachment has significant meaning especially with the history Smithers has with excluding Indigenous Peoples.
“This is a time where we can come together in a safe and welcoming way so, with the RCMP it’s more of a demonstration of how we can come together and not so much an aggressive move,” Mitchell said.
Additionally, Mitchell said to continue this conversation outside of one day children should be taught that they have a right to be safe and they have a right to be loved in a healthy way.
The D’ze L’kant Friendship Centre also held an event in the afternoon and a march was held in Witset to remember the lives lost and for those that are missing.