Dozens marched down Main Street and met at the Dze L Kant Friendship Centre in Smithers last Wednesday in a women’s memorial march.
It’s a tradition started in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that happens every Valentine’s Day. It has been happening every year in Smithers for the past five. A similar march by Sisters in Spirit was held in Houston in November.
“We want to raise awareness, and we want to see action,” said Molly Wickham, who co-organized the march with Mel Bazil and Belinda Lacombe.
Family and friends of Frances Brown gathered to lead the march. Brown went missing in October during a mushroom picking trip between Smithers and Moricetown and was never found. They held a piece of art given to them by Morris Watts of New Aiyansh, one of the many who came to search for her.
A healing tent was set up at the Friendship Centre. It included a sacred fire that was restarted from its place at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry held last summer in Smithers.
Goose feathers and ties all the way from Attawapiskat on James Bay were held by the marchers as they made their way through town.
Support for the march came from Northern Society for Domestic Peace, Office of the Wet’suwet’en, and the Friendship Centre.
When all were gathered at the hall, Wickham said they would ask aloud for commitments to keep women and girls safe.