Men, women, children, First Nation leaders and politicians were out in force for the Take Back the Night event on Oct. 4.
Following a presentation by the 100 Mile & District Women’s Centre to the Canim Lake band, Chief Mike Archie and two band councillors spoke about the importance of ending violence in the community.
Archie spoke about a recent experience looking for a missing woman along Highway 16, so named the “Highway of Tears” for the large numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women who have been lost along its route.
Archie also showed participants his Esk’etemc Commitment Stick that he was given to help prevent issues involving violence against Indigenous women and girls.
“They bring it to all the chiefs to take and make the commitment to end the violence and speak in the community when we see things happening, whether it is at the office or maybe it is in the community somewhere, or might be in my own family.”
Archie ended by honouring Canim community members who have been lost due to violence.
After, the group of 68 took to the streets in the Take Back the Night march walking in a loop through 100 Mile House.
The walk was followed by a workshop lead by Tracy Leach, a counsellor who leads workshops on healing and wellness from an Aboriginal perspective.
The workshop on empowerment took participants through the effects of violence and how they can be triggered as a result of violence and abuse.
Due to the wildfires, organizer and Stopping the Violence counsellor Kalika Moody says that people can become retraumatized because of stressful events.
“We can end up dipping back into old hurt and pain from violence and abuse so [Leach] talked about the triggering effect. She talked about symptoms that we might experience as a result of violence and abuse in relationships,” she says.
“She also talked about different strategies for self-care in dealing with that.”
The workshop was followed by an Honouring in Silence ceremony.
“It was an opportunity for people to place themselves, or a loved one, or all people affected by violence and abuse in the centre of the circle and to honour them and to feel and recognize the strength within the circle. It was powerful,” says Moody.
“You could feel the strength of the energy of the circle. It was very powerful, it was healing and releasing for people and there was an opportunity to share that healing and releasing.”
Moody says it is important to continue the event every year.
“I think this event year after year really does show a lot of heart. Violence has no barriers against any people, young, old, male, female. There are no barriers as to when violence happens.
Violence happens in religions, happens in different parts of the world, in different environments and violence itself takes many shapes and forms, as well as degrees, so I think what is always amazing to me is how all people, of all ages, men, women and children come together and recognize there is a need to come together and address this issue.
“I think one individual can’t do it. It requires a community to take a stand and to say ‘no more.’”