The families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls found a voice in the heart of B.C.’s Parliament Buildings as the Province of British Columbia unveiled a memorial quilt to honour those lost.
The quilt was designed using patches crafted by families who have lost loved ones. In total, 90 patches were created from victims’ clothing, blankets, other possessions, or from cloth in their favourite colour. Many are embroidered with messages and symbols of remembrance from family members.
The creation of the quilt was a key outcome of the three-day B.C. Family Gathering in Prince George held in February 2016 when approximately 350 people from across B.C. and Canada joined together for healing and to remember their lost relatives.
A display of individual quilt patches is available in an online photo gallery, created to ensure a permanent legacy is available to all British Columbians. View it at: http://ow.ly/sglo3003Ckd
The memorial quilt will be on display in the B.C. Parliament Buildings throughout the spring and summer.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“I was powerfully moved by what I heard from families at the B.C. Family Gathering in Prince George earlier in the year, and those emotions stay with me with the tangible memorial of tragic loss embodied by the B.C. quilt. It underscores the need to ensure that our communities are safe for all our citizens and our most vulnerable community members can live without fear.”
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Ensuring the safety of Indigenous women and girls is one of the defining issues of our time in Canada. This quilt is a memorial to those who have been lost and a powerful reminder that we must work together to address violence and violence prevention.”
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice –
“Over the past decade, B.C. has been a leader in partnering with Indigenous organizations to address violence against Indigenous women and girls. This quilt is a symbol of why we are committed to this work. We will continue to work closely with these families and the federal government during the upcoming inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across British Columbia and Canada.”
Chastity Davis, chair of the Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women –
“We are on a healing journey together as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. One step in the collective healing journey is to honour the lives of the Indigenous women who have gone missing or have been murdered. The creation and sentiment of this remarkable quilt is part of our shared journey and I honour all of the family members who are keeping the memory of their loved ones alive in such a beautiful way.”
- The memorial quilt is approximately three metres wide by 2.5 metres long. The central patch was created by two members of the provincial government’s Aboriginal Youth Internship Program.
- The B.C. gathering for the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, held in Prince George, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2016, was co-hosted by Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Carrier Sekani Family Services, the Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women, the First Nations Leadership Council and Métis Nation B.C.
- Family members attended the gathering from all parts of B.C. as well as Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick.
- The provincial government took feedback from family members at the gathering to the second National Roundtable on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls at the end of February 2016.