A ceremony of healing for the families, survivors and those impacted by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis, was held on Monday morning. The ceremony was held at Seven Oaks, and was attended by 30 individuals.
A circle of people surrounded the drummers, as words of wisdom and prayers were being offered by Indigenous elders. There was also a sea of belongings to MMIWG put on a carpet where prayers were offered and candles were lit during the blessing of the information resource bundle in responding to the crisis of the MMIWG.
Cassandra Yerxa is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls worker for Grand Council Treaty #3. She said Monday was Sisters in Spirit Day.
“We wanted to honour the families, the women, the girls, and those impacted and pray for healing, strength and zahgidiwin (love),” Yerxa said in an emailed response to the Times.
“The ceremony was to bless the work being done, specifically the designing of the Responding to the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Information Resource Bundle and the work going forward.”
Chief Gardner of Eagle Lake First Nation, Couchiching First Nation Councillor Dave Bruyere, Council Member Priscilla Simard from the Grand Council Treaty 3 Women’s Council, Elder Laura Horton and her helpers Mookie Morrison and Josephine Wood were among the attendees.
Horton said in her opening statement that words and conversations need to begin with asemaake and a conversation with someone of higher power to ask for strength and guidance.
She asked attendees to offer their prayers for those they lost, those who are still missing and for the families left in pain and sorrow.
“Pray for all those who are parents raising young children [and teaching them] how to behave, how to get out of trouble, how to stay out of harm’s way, how not to give harm to another,” Horton said.
Yerxa added that the Social Department of Grand Council Treaty 3 strives to promote education, advocacy, and awareness on a grassroots level in the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty #3.
“Everything we do, has to be done in a good way, a respectable way, with the families, the survivors and those impacted in our hearts, and to keep this crisis at the forefront of discussion, to hopefully one day eliminate the victimization of Indigenous Women and Girls,” Yerxa said.