Event to focus on murdered and missing indigenous women
By Jeremy Warren, The StarPhoenixJanuary 21, 2015
A group of social workers plans to host a panel talk in Saskatoon tonight to discuss ways people can help the families of murdered and missing indigenous women.
“We’re all in this together. We all need to care,” said Jessica Fisher, one of the organizers. “There has to be a reason for why there are thousands of murdered and missing indigenous women, and we need to come together and discuss that reason.”
The panel talk — which starts at 7 p.m. at Station 20 West, with free admission — was organized by a social justice committee made up of members from the Saskatchewan Association of Social Work and the Social Work Students Society.
“As social workers, it’s our role to promote social justice and be advocates for those who don’t have a voice,” Fisher said.
The discussion will focus on how to “engage communities — particularly those who work in human/community services and who identify as settlers — in supporting families of murdered and missing indigenous women,” according to the online event description.
The panel features three speakers: Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte of the group Women Walking Together and two members of the Saskatoon Police Service, including the aboriginal relations liaison. The panel is to be followed by a question-and-answer session and discussion.
Fisher said just hearing the stories of victims and learning about aboriginal and settler relations can help people be more understanding. Debate continues about whether or not communities and governments should take the issue more seriously, she said.
“You either get people on board who (say) this is a serious issue, and the others don’t see it as an issue at all. There’s no grey area.” she added.
“It’s taken how many years to build these terrible relationships with indigenous people, and it will take a lot more time to repair them. A willingness to discuss it is a big step ... I hope people are willing to come and talk respectfully and openly about what needs to be done.”
Meanwhile, the second annual Saskatoon Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women March is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. The march starts at City Hall.
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