As they have annually now for 26 years, family, friends and other supporters of Ramona Wilson came together June 6 to remember the 16-year-old who went missing on June 11, 1994. Her body was found near the Smithers airport the following spring in April 1995.
Last week, a parade of vehicles, decorated with remembrances of Ramona and other Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) made their way from Railway Ave. up Queen Street and down Hwy 16 to Yellich Road, near where Ramona’s body was found.
“It means a lot to our family and many others to bring awareness to this tragedy of our loved ones missing or murdered,” said Brenda Wilson, Ramona’s sister.
In the past, the parade has been a march from Lake Kathlyn to Yellich Road, but due to COVID-19 the family decided to change it up this year.
In lieu of refreshments and speeches, as has been the tradition, the family provided goodie bags to participants as a token of their appreciation.
Last year on June 3, just days before the walk, The National Inquiry into MMIWG released its 1,200-page report, which called violence against First Nations, Metis and Inuit women and girls a form of “genocide” and a “centuries in the making” crisis.
“As the evidence demonstrates, human rights and Indigenous rights abuses and violations committed and condoned by the Canadian state represent genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and (LGBTQ and two-spirit) people,” it concluded.
The report contained more than 200 recommendations to multiple levels of government.
On the anniversary of the release of the report last week, the Native Women’s Association of Canada condemned the federal government for dragging its feet on the recommendations.
“Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan,” said association president Lorraine Whitman in a statement.