The Manitoba Legislative Assembly voted unanimously this morning to set aside Oct. 4 each year as an official day to honour and bring attention to Manitoba’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and raise awareness of the systemic levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
“I say meegwetch to all members of the assembly who supported Bill 221 to honour Manitoba’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and their families,” said NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine, who introduced the bill. “The families have long fought to draw attention to the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls.”
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day Act is expected to come into effect upon royal assent at the end of the current legislative session. Manitoba is the first province to introduce an official day to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and their families.
“An official day will bring greater recognition of the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls,” Fontaine said. “It is one small step toward honouring those whose lives were tragically lost. And it recognizes the deep and ongoing anguish felt by the surviving family members of these women and girls.”
More than 1,200 Indigenous women and girls have been reported missing or murdered across Canada since 1980, Fontaine noted. Oct. 4 is a traditional day for vigils across the country for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Thanks to the support of every member of the assembly, this will now be an appropriate day to honour Manitoba’s lost daughters, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, partners and friends,” Fontaine said.