City Council has directed the Mayor's Office to issue and declare a permanent declaration proclaiming October 4 as Sisters in Spirit Day in Lethbridge.
The Sisters in Spirit Vigil honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, supports grieving families, provides opportunities for healing – and is a movement for social change encouraging education and understanding related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited Persons.
"This official and permanent proclamation from City Council will help to continue to build relationships and show support for Indigenous women and girls in Lethbridge and area," says Councillor Belinda Crowson, who brought forward the motion which passed 8-1 at Tuesday's Council meeting. "It shows an ongoing commitment that this is an issue of value and importance to this Council and to Council in the future. This is important to the community as a whole, but there is always more work to be done."
"Since the discoveries in Kamloops and at other Residential Schools earlier this year, more and more Lethbridge residents have been trying better understand what truth and reconciliation means to them," says Perry Stein, Indigenous Relations Advisor. "This proclamation not only strengthens City Council's ongoing commitments to honour Indigenous women, girls and the members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, but also serves as a moment around which the community can rally, become more informed and ultimately be better allies."
For 15 years, a collaboration of Lethbridge organizations and individuals have organized and planned the Sisters in Spirit Vigil.
In January 2021, Lethbridge City Council approved the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Recommendations and Work Plan. One of the specific recommendations was that City Council and the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee continue to support Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls through the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil and pursue a permanent declaration for Sisters in Spirit Day.