Sherry McCarthy

Sherry McCarthy

Vigil at VIU sheds light on missing women

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island University Students' Union holds vigil honouring missing aboriginal women.

At a vigil for murdered and missing aboriginal women at VIU on Tuesday, a former students’ union executive said a national inquiry is not progressing fast enough.

The Vancouver Island University Students’ Union, along with its counterparts across Canada, held the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil on campus with the goal to raise awareness and help end violence against aboriginal women. The group said there are more than 1,000 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls across the country.

Work on the inquiry commenced in September, but Sherry McCarthy, a former union chairwoman and member of Mowachaht First Nation, said she isn’t happy at the pace it is moving.

Communities have been consulted, but McCarthy said she doesn’t believe enough has been done.

“There are still many people who are left out of that circle and not able to actually give a contribution,” she said.

The university began holding vigils four years ago and McCarthy is happy with how the event has grown.

“We started out with maybe five to 10 people and now it’s evolved to 100, 150 people here now, so it’s wonderful to see so many people bring awareness to this day,” McCarthy said.

Caleb Rosenthal, the students’ union aboriginal student liaison, echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, hoping the vigil raises awareness.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions and this is to bring awareness to those unanswered questions and bring reverence to the families who are experiencing the loss,” said Rosenthal.