The youth council in Fishing Lake is hosting a “Walk a Mile in Her Ribbon Skirt” event on Friday evening to raise awareness and increase education about the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“We wanted to make it bigger than just educating people in the community,” said Robyn Deschamps, president of the Fishing Lake Youth Council.
“We also wanted friends and family to come out from other communities or other towns or cities, to see what we go through, and maybe bring new realizations to them about what we go through.”
According to Deschamps, violence is something faced by many women in their community every day.
“We’ve had some very close community members pass away from violence, or murder. And it’s really hard for us, but we also want to show people how real it is,” said Deschamps.
Skye Durocher is a youth worker in Fishing Lake, she says the statistics for violence against Indigenous women have been on the rise, especially since the start of COVID.
“A lot of the youth we get are women and they’re not immune to the sexual harassment and to such abuse that goes on with Indigenous women and girls. So I think that they felt really strongly about doing something and feeling that they needed to do something,” said Durocher, noting the event has become a bit bigger than what was originally expected.
There will be presentations by Dorothy Anderson and Blake Desjarlais, both involved in the Métis Settlements General Council. Following the presentations, the group will move to Memorial Park for a candlelight vigil and moment of silence.
“So we’re wearing red in solidarity for the people who we’ve lost. And we feel like the red ribbon skirts are a good way to support families. And also to remember the women and children that we have lost because of the violence,” said Deschamps.
The ribbon skirt is a part of indigenous culture, she said, which is representative of who they are and symbolizes, “how strong we are when we all work together.”
For Durocher, the ribbon skirt is something unique to modern indigenous culture.
“It’s something we can wear daily. We can walk out with a ribbon skirt any day, whereas with certain regalia you can only wear it certain times of the year. It’s something practical, but it’s also something that shows I am Indigenous and I am proud of this and I wear this ribbon skirt because I am proud of my identity,” said Durocher.
The community in Fishing Lake has gotten on board with the idea, she said. They’ve hosted workshops for people to make their own ribbon skirts and ribbon sweaters earlier this week.
The walk will start at the Communiplex in Fishing Lake at 5:00pm and end at the Administration Office before moving to Memorial Park for the candlelight vigil which will wrap up at 7:00pm.