Students at Cariboo school remember missing, murdered women with interactive shoe memorial

Walking into the gym at Quesnel’s Correlieu Secondary School on Thursday morning (Dec. 6), the first thing students saw was a table set up asking them to make the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence toward women and girls.

Then, they passed a memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique de Montreal shooting, which took place on this day (Dec. 6) in 1989. Fourteen female students were killed in the targeted shooting.

Each victim had their name and school major listed with two roses in a vase in front of them. Then, the students were shown two signs, one, with data from StatsCan showing that 76 per cent of female homicides in Canada were committed by their intimate partner, while male homicides are largely committed by strangers or acquaintances.

READ MORE: Correlieu to host shoe memorial for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The other sign depicted the number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada as approximately 1,200 victims — a statistic from the RCMP — with a second statistic, from activists, First Nations and former Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu, estimating that number is closer to 4,000.

Behind the signs, the bleachers were full of shoes — 308 pairs, to be precise.

Each pair of shoes was matched with a name, one which correlated to a profile included in CBC’s database of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.

The front row of the bleachers featured roses in front of names — for local victims (both missing and murdered) of violence against women, all but one who are not included in the database.

The memorial was pulled together by Carilee Drew, an English teacher at Correlieu, and a group of student volunteers.

“I think a lot of people don’t think that gender-based violence is a concern today, and I’m really trying to get across the point that it’s more of a concern now than ever,” says Drew.

She came up with the idea after seeing a similar memorial set up at the Vancouver Art Gallery a couple years ago — something she thought was “a really cool idea.”

Drew says her understanding of the memorial at the gallery was that it was almost like a work of art, something for people to stand and look at. But then she learned the CBC’s database and decided to organize her own, interactive shoe memorial.

Using their phones, students were able to actually search the database for each woman and read her story.

Students, staff, and members of the community all attended the memorial, which was largely run by student volunteers, since Drew had her own class to teach at the same time. The students led classes and guests throughout the gym, stopping to tell them about each section of the memorial.

Amber Lightfoot, a Grade 11 student at Correlieu, is one of the student volunteers who helped pull together the memorial.

“It’s really moving,” says Lightfoot. “It’s one thing reading about it, but then when you actually see a physical representation of how many missing and murdered women in the area there are, it’s very moving. It’s very emotional.”

Dec. 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women in Canada, and part of the United Nations 16 Days of Action for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. The display is also in correlation with Correlieu’s Annual White Ribbon campaign, which asks the male students and teachers at the school to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence toward women or girls.



heather.norman@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

A teacher looks at the memorial. Heather Norman photos
Amber Lightfoot presents to a group of students and teachers at Correlieu as part of the interactive shoe memorial on Dec. 6. Heather Norman photos
Roxanne Thiara went missing from Prince George in July, 1994. Her remains were found a month later near Burns Lake on Highway 16.
A student uses the CBC database to read the story behind one of the names.
Names and shoes in the memorial.
A student uses the CBC database to read the story behind one of the names.
Part of the memorial for victims of the École Polytechnique shooting in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.

Just Posted

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

Christian Heritage Party leader reflects on 2019 federal election

Leader Rod Taylor from Telkwa is aiming to run 100 candidates on socially conservative platform.

One in critical condition after train hits grader near Smithers

The collision occurred at the Lawson Road crossing in the rural community of Quick

Peepchuk re-enters guilty pleas

Hazelton assault causing bodily harm and robbery case adjourned to set sentencing date

Gryphons girls dominate in zone win

It’s a bittersweet moment for Smithers basketball team as players graduate and coach moves on.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read