Some of the crowd gathered for the Sisters in Spirit vigil in Carrot Park last week.

Shining a light on loss

Around a hundred people came out to the Sisters in Spirit vigil in Port Hardy last week.

Gazette staff

PORT HARDY—Around a hundred people came out to the Sisters in Spirit vigil in Port Hardy last week.

Sisters in Spirit is a campaign launched by the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2004 to raise public awareness of the high rates of violence against aboriginal women in Canada. The campaign has grown each year and this year over 100 vigils were held across Canada.

The vigil in Port Hardy made special mention of two local women; the recent murder victim Cindy Scow and the missing Angeline Pete.

Scow, a mother of seven, was murdered last month in an abandoned house on Tsulquate Road and 19-year-old Dakota Johnny has been charged in the crime. Scow’s mother, Blanche Walkus, was present at the vigil and made an emotional address to the assembled crowd.

Pete has been missing since May 25, 2011, when she was last seen at her residence in North Vancouver. The 29-year-old is originally from Quatsino and her family and RCMP have been searching for her for more than a year. Family members have had no contact with her since her disappearance, something out of character for Pete, and they are concerned for her well-being.

Police have recieved many tips and possible sightings, and believe she may have hitch hiked to Alberta, but have no concrete leads on her whereabouts.

Eileen Nelson, who raised Pete, held her picture up during the vigil as songs for healing were sung. The crowd, holding candles, then walked along the seawall from Carrot Park to Tsulquate Park and back.

Organizers explained to the crowd that the event was an opportunity for those assembled to slow down and feel, to honour missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, and to support their grieving families.

The local candlelight vigil was planned by the Quatsino First Nation.