Men, women and children took to the streets of 100 Mile House on Wednesday, Oct. 3, marching and holding signs condemning violence against women.
For Stanley Daniels, a councillor for the Canim Lake Band, walking up Highway 97 toward the Alpine Avenue corner was especially significant.
“That’s where my aunt was found murdered.”
Daniels said his aunt’s murderer was arrested and charged after she was found 30 years ago but that his family still feels the pain of her unnecessary loss.
He said he marches because the underlying issue of violence against women still exists today. “It’s 2018. We shouldn’t have to worry about taking back any night, you know, but that’s the world we live in.”
Daniels, who has two nieces, said the day his first niece was born he decided he’d do anything to make sure she has the same rights as men.
“Whatever I do in this world is going to make this place a better place for her to grow up in, and I don’t want anything for her to be taken away or not given to her because she is female.”
Daniels said it was “really amazing” to be marching with his community and to see so much support for the cause.
Canim Lake Band Chief Helen Henderson marched out in front.
“I feel really honoured to be here with everyone,” she said. “I feel like it’s connecting us to our past and bringing some healing, for sure.”
She said marching is an important way to bring awareness to the violence against women, children and anybody really.
“I think we have an opportunity to affect real change.”
Chief Henderson said she was amazed by the amount of support for the missing and murdered Indigenous women and for those who still suffer from violence today.
“It brings warmth to my heart, for sure.”
For Margo Archie, the march served as a way to remember both friends and family who have been murdered.
Archie moved up to the 100 Mile House area from the Cowichan territory five years ago.
When her friend, 18-year-old Tyeshia Jones went missing in 2011, Archie said she was part of the search party. Jones was ultimately found to have been murdered.
It was also Archie’s cousin who had been found murdered on the corner of Alpine Avenue.
“We commemorate her memory by doing this walk.”
She said it’s “a good feeling” to see everyone come together to recognize the violence that is not often spoken about.
“It’s good to see that people do care.”
Archie proudly walked beside her 17-year-old son Terrance.
Chris Pettman, the executive director of the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre, said the march is an important way to recognize and put a stop to the violence women still experience today.
“It’s important to march so that you’re visible,” he said. “If you’re not visible and representing the people that have gone missing or (have been) injured, then no one will know that this is happening.”
The 100 Mile & District Women’s Centre Society has been participating in the nationwide peaceful protest since well before its current executive director, Susann Collins, first joined in 1997.
Collins said the march was originally for women and children, but that it’s evolved over the years to include all people of any gender or any orientation.
“It’s about ending violence and that impacts everyone so excluding people doesn’t help reach the solution.”
The emotion of the march is always “a mixture of sorrow and ritual and joy,” and she said she felt honoured that so many people came out to support an end to violence.
“The work is not done, so we need to keep gathering until the work is done.”