Growing up in a small northern town, Patricia McGuire often heard about women going missing and later found murdered.
That's what brought McGuire out on her lunch break to the Sisters in Spirit Vigil held at the Ontario Native Women's Association Friday afternoon to honour the more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.
"I think it's an important issue," said McGuire, who was raised in Macdiarmid, Ont.
"I think this is a Canadian issue. I came out so I can talk to people and let people share stories and realize this is a human rights issue in Canada."
About 100 people attended the Sisters in Spirit Vigil in Thunder Bay, one of more than 200 events happening across the country.
The vigil was started by the Native Women's Association of Canada and ONWA media and communications officer Maryanne Matthews said the event is not only to honour the missing and murdered women, but also to pay respect to the families who have lost loved ones to violence.
"Ending violence against Aboriginal women is a priority for the Ontario Native Women's Association so we like to do whatever we can to support it and advocate for some awareness and more response on behalf of the communities, governments of all levels and just Canada as a whole," said Matthews.
A recent denial by the federal government to launch a national inquiry into the issue speaks volumes about the amount of attention the topic is receiving, added Matthews.
"I think we're making progress and we're doing all that we can but there's a long way to go," she said.
"I think what we need is not only support from Aboriginal communities and organizations but from everybody in Canada to stand together and demand action."
NWAC has started a petition calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
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