Letter: Vigil for the Missing and Murdered at Neyaashiinigmiing – An Occasion To Remember

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Three of us from the Northern Bruce Truth and Reconciliation Group drove down through the rain to the vigil at Neyaashiinigmiing for the Missing and Murdered. 

So the red dresses were not hung outdoors in the trees, but inside the Community Centre on the light standards. We were most warmly welcomed and the supper provided, delicious. 

Joyce Johnson directed the service. It was opened by the talented drumming of Sheila Robson, who was joined in the singing by a young friend. A young man circulated around the outside of our circle, smudging.

Then two women took the podium; the first introduced the second who was the speaker. She was recently graduated from Western University in the field of social work and is now working with a youth healing lodge in Penetanguishene. She shared the story of a woman, gone missing, but of no interest to the police until she would have been missing for 24 hours (if then, as it turns out). So, those who loved her embarked on a hunt. Her body was found in the bush by her nephew. The woman spoke of the search and the finding while the children in the room played.

Our candles were lit in their red candle cups, the lights turned out, and music filled the room. We stood during the songs about the lost and the bereaved. For the moment, we felt something of the waiting and not knowing that so many have lived with for years. Everyone listened. There were some thoughtful reflections from the podium to close.

An occasion to remember; we were thankful to be there and to be so welcomed.

Bev Sawyer