March for MMIW in town

A national, annual march for missing and murdered Indigenous women made its way through Penticton on Wednesday for the first time ever.

Dozens of people gathered at Gyro Park and marched through the city's downtown, ending again at Gyro Park. Many held signs with messages or with descriptions of women currently missing. 

The march, held each year on Valentines Day, originated in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 1992. It has since expanded to cities across Canada.

Jan Lipscombe, the executive director of the Okanagan Nation emergency transition house, said the march is meant to recognized missing and murdered women as well as their family members who have had to grieve.  

"There are people here today who have actually sisters, aunties and other relatives that have gone missing. So we're here to support them and never to forget," Lipscombe said while marching.

She added she was very pleased with the community's representation for Wednesday's first-ever march in Penticton.

As of 2015, there were 106 unsolved homicides of Indigenous women between 1980-2012, as well as 98 missing person cases with foul play suspected, according to a national RCMP report.

The Government of Canada launched an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in 2016, which is ran separately from the federal government. 

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