Greyeyes has been invited to take part in roundtable discussions with parliament representatives, in the hopes of pushing the government for an inquiry into the “alarmingly high” numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the country. She will also meet with families of some of those women to share experiences. Greyeyes has been speaking with local families, and says she’ll be bringing their stories and messages to the nation’s capital.
“They want them to know that these women had value,” she says. “They’re missed, they’re loved, and we’re never going to stop looking for them and wondering. These families deserve closure. We deserve to know what is going on to Aboriginal women in this country.”
Personally, she’ll be sharing the story of the murder of her cousin Joyce Cardinal, who passed away three weeks after she was beaten, doused in gasoline, and burned alive in Edmonton in 1993. Greyeyes argues that the mistreatment of Aboriginal women has long been accepted and ingrained in future generations, and hopes that putting faces and stories to the names of the missing and murdered women will make the issue more real to the public. From the Peace Region, Greyeyes can think of six women who have been murdered, and at least another four who are missing.
“I’m not really sure that it’s such a coincidence that this is such a highly transient town. It seems to be the norm that it’s okay to abuse our women, and I think that it’s time that we women stand up and say, ‘we’re not going to take this anymore,’” she argues.
The feeling that Aboriginal women are invisible is the theme of the poem she plans to read at the vigil in Ottawa titled, “Your Eyes They Curve Around Me”, and written by Helen Knott of Fort St. John.
Here at home, a traditional eagle down ceremony will be held on October 2 for families to grieve and share, followed by a “Reclaiming Our Sisters” workshop on the 3rd to teach young women about sexual health. The Sisters in Spirit vigil will begin at 5 p.m. on October 4th at the Friendship Centre. After walking to City Hall and back, dinner will be served. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Centre.