Peace River “Sisters in Spirit” walk and vigil expresses solidarity and inspires hope

Community members participating in the Sisters in Spirit vigil place tobacco ties in the fire during the ceremony at Peace River Riverfront Park.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

People from Peace River and members of the surrounding communities including Falher, Cadotte Lake and high school students from Fairview, attended “Sisters in Spirit” walk and vigil, October 4.

Before the walk began from outside the Peace River Museum, organizers handed out tobacco ties, tobacco wrapped in red cloth and tide with ribbon, which those on the walk use to pray and at the vigil at Riverfront Park, the tobacco ties were placed in a fire as part of the ceremony.

“This helps people, it is like a healing for them,” says event organizer Wendy Goulet.

Approximately 150 people took part in the “Sisters in Spirit” walk that made its way through the town of Peace River to the vigil at Riverfront Park where others joined in the event.

It was not an exclusive event for aboriginal women, as men and women, aboriginal and non-aboriginal were encouraged to take part.

“We follow our medicine wheel and our medicine wheel represents all of human life,” says Goulet. “We are all one, we are all the same, we’re human beings.”

Goulet also says having the event collaborate with Picnic in the Park, really worked out well.

“This is the first year that we partnered with Picnic in the Park,” she says. “Paul Hebert puts this on every Thursday where he feeds the community and he brought different people also to the vigil.”

Everyone who attended had the opportunity to take the microphone to talk about their experiences and this openness had some surprising and positive outcomes.

“Because I am so aware of the hardships and what goes on with the missing and murdered women and girls, sometimes you start to feel hopeless, thinking that there is never going to be change,” says Goulet.

“But one thing that was meaningful for me was that we had a new Canadian, a refugee who is a high school student taking Aboriginal Studies and he came and spoke, saying he was really happy to be there in solidarity.

“He brought hope, it’s like when people become more aware, like this youth, a new Canadian, standing there saying that he is aware of the situation, it is awesome because we are going to have change in our youth when they hear what’s going on.”

People taking part in the Sisters in Spirit walk, which began at Peace River Museum, making its way through downtown to Riverfront Park.


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