“It’s about holding space, and honouring our women” said Juliana Lesage, co-chair of the Trent University Native Association. TUNA on October fourth in First Peoples House of Learning held a drop in session in which students and community members could create medicine baskets for families of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Student’s and community members could have dropped in and made a medicine basket. This basket would have contained traditional Indigenous medicines such as sage, tobacco, sweetgrass, cedar and rose petals. Shanese Steele highlighted that “Those medicines are used by Indigenous peoples as tools of healing.”
The drop in session comes ahead of a vigil for missing and murdered indigenous women being held at Faryon Bridge Wednesday at 730pm. This is a national vigil that is being held across Canada in honour of the 600 and 1200 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women from 1980 and 2012.
This is an annual vigil, but is the first since the official inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women was launched by the federal government in early 2017. The inquiry itself was initially lauded as a step forward, but recently has been lambasted not for its intent but the implementation of the inquiry.
Shanese wants to remind students that the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is not just a “2 hour issue, or a 45 minute issue, it’s an everyday issue for us.”
“We are going to stand up for our women, these are our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, this is community, this is going to be solidarity” Said Juliana Lesage on the necessity for this vigil.