Students at Cariboo school remember missing, murdered women with interactive shoe memorial

Walking into the gym at Quesnel’s Correlieu Secondary School on Thursday morning (Dec. 6), the first thing students saw was a table set up asking them to make the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence toward women and girls.

Then, they passed a memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique de Montreal shooting, which took place on this day (Dec. 6) in 1989. Fourteen female students were killed in the targeted shooting.

Each victim had their name and school major listed with two roses in a vase in front of them. Then, the students were shown two signs, one, with data from StatsCan showing that 76 per cent of female homicides in Canada were committed by their intimate partner, while male homicides are largely committed by strangers or acquaintances.

READ MORE: Correlieu to host shoe memorial for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The other sign depicted the number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada as approximately 1,200 victims — a statistic from the RCMP — with a second statistic, from activists, First Nations and former Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu, estimating that number is closer to 4,000.

Behind the signs, the bleachers were full of shoes — 308 pairs, to be precise.

Each pair of shoes was matched with a name, one which correlated to a profile included in CBC’s database of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.

The front row of the bleachers featured roses in front of names — for local victims (both missing and murdered) of violence against women, all but one who are not included in the database.

The memorial was pulled together by Carilee Drew, an English teacher at Correlieu, and a group of student volunteers.

“I think a lot of people don’t think that gender-based violence is a concern today, and I’m really trying to get across the point that it’s more of a concern now than ever,” says Drew.

She came up with the idea after seeing a similar memorial set up at the Vancouver Art Gallery a couple years ago — something she thought was “a really cool idea.”

Drew says her understanding of the memorial at the gallery was that it was almost like a work of art, something for people to stand and look at. But then she learned the CBC’s database and decided to organize her own, interactive shoe memorial.

Using their phones, students were able to actually search the database for each woman and read her story.

Students, staff, and members of the community all attended the memorial, which was largely run by student volunteers, since Drew had her own class to teach at the same time. The students led classes and guests throughout the gym, stopping to tell them about each section of the memorial.

Amber Lightfoot, a Grade 11 student at Correlieu, is one of the student volunteers who helped pull together the memorial.

“It’s really moving,” says Lightfoot. “It’s one thing reading about it, but then when you actually see a physical representation of how many missing and murdered women in the area there are, it’s very moving. It’s very emotional.”

Dec. 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women in Canada, and part of the United Nations 16 Days of Action for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. The display is also in correlation with Correlieu’s Annual White Ribbon campaign, which asks the male students and teachers at the school to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence toward women or girls.



heather.norman@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

A teacher looks at the memorial. Heather Norman photos
Amber Lightfoot presents to a group of students and teachers at Correlieu as part of the interactive shoe memorial on Dec. 6. Heather Norman photos
Roxanne Thiara went missing from Prince George in July, 1994. Her remains were found a month later near Burns Lake on Highway 16.
A student uses the CBC database to read the story behind one of the names.
Names and shoes in the memorial.
A student uses the CBC database to read the story behind one of the names.
Part of the memorial for victims of the École Polytechnique shooting in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Biking among traditional outdoor sport draws for Burns Lake poll shows

Mountain biking is one of the top four outdoor activities that drew… Continue reading

Climate change affects Nechako watershed, worsens fires, group says

The Nechako watershed is feeling the effects of more intense widlfires and… Continue reading

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Fat tires on thick ice

Burns Lake fat bikers came out to enjoy the conditions on Kager… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Most Read