Gone, not for­got­ten

Walk at Saugeen First Na­tion remembers miss­ing Indige­nous women and men

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FRONT PAGE - FRANCES LEARMENT

A decade af­ter her grand­daugh­ter and a friend went miss­ing af­ter mov­ing from Saugeen First Na­tion #29 to Que­bec, Beu­lah John­son took so­lace from a “cel­e­bra­tion” at the an­nual Take Back the Night Miss­ing and Mur­dered Indige­nous Walk Tues­day at Saugeen First Na­tion.

Ap­prox­i­mately 75 peo­ple - half the crowd from past years - ac­com­pa­nied by singers and drum­mers, car­ried re­mem­brance signs as they walked from the Women’s Shel­ter to the am­phithe­atre on High­way 21 for a cer­e­mony to re­mem­ber the 1,200 miss­ing and mur­dered Indige­nous women in Canada.

John­son said her daugh­ter, Maisy’s mother, has not given up hope.

“I think I have. I - I have to move on,” John­son said, but still wished “some­thing would come out of the blue” to ex­plain Maisy’s dis­ap­pear­ance Sept. 5, 2008.

“Ev­ery­one is here as a cel­e­bra­tion and that helps,” John­son said as she car­ried a sym­bolic red dress on a dec­o­rated staff dur­ing the walk. She placed the dress at the mon­u­ment at the am­phithe­atre site.

Twelve women and one man placed 13 roses - red ones rep­re­sent­ing 100 miss­ing and mur­dered women, yel­low for un­re­ported miss­ing, and one white one for miss­ing and mur­dered men around the stone mon­u­ment where can­dles burned in their hon­our.

OPP Const. Adam Be­langer of­fered con­do­lences to fam­i­lies and friends who have suf­fered loss.

He said a 2015 Miss­ing and Un­solved Indige­nous Peo­ple in OPP Ju­ris­dic­tion Re­port of­fered clar­ity.

“The OPP hopes the re­port gen­er­ates dis­cus­sion and po­ten­tial leads, and or res­o­lu­tion for the fam­i­lies that have suf­fered loss.”

Lori Ke­waquom, SFN cul­ture and well­ness co­or­di­na­tor, thanked the crowd be­cause their at­ten­dance un­der­scores the ba­sis of their cul­ture and tra­di­tions.

“We are all Spirit - some­times we don’t have any­thing else to hold on to and we can hold on to the Spirit as the very ba­sis of who we are as a peo­ple.”

She made spe­cial men­tion of the men in the crowd and the men drum­mers, call­ing them pro­tec­tors with a spe­cial role, and to women - the car­ri­ers of life - who she called the portal be­tween the spir­i­tual realm and here.

Ke­waquom said the “un­re­solved grief” in the com­mu­nity and ques­tions about loved one’s fates would hope­fully be helped by the joint griev­ing and cer­e­mony to help the Spirit’s jour­ney to the Spirit World.

The cer­e­mony ended with the crowd of­fer­ing to­bacco ties to the Sa­cred Fire in group prayer, and then go­ing to the Youth Cen­tre for re­fresh­ments.


Ap­prox­i­mately 75 men, women and chil­dren marched from the Saugeen First Na­tion Women's Shel­ter to the am­phithe­atre on High­way 21 in sup­port of the an­nual Take Back the Night Miss­ing and Mur­dered Indige­nous Walk in Saugeen First Na­tion on Tues­day.

FRANCES LEARMENT/ POST­MEDIA NEWS A decade af­ter her grand­daugh­ter, former Southamp­ton grade school stu­dent Massey Od­jick, went miss­ing Saugeen First Na­tion res­i­dent Beu­lah John­son has come to terms with her loss, which she marked Tues­day at the an­nual Ta

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