Sometimes events happen in Yorkton that when they are over you shake your head at the poor turnout given the importance of the message the group was trying to get out to the public.
Thursday, a sadly far too small group gathered in the city to keep the memories of Aboriginal women missing in Canada alive and to raise awareness of the problem.
Speaker Lori Whiteman, Program Director with Sisters In Spirit (SIS) said the number of missing Aboriginal women is a crisis.
“In 2004, Amnesty International undertook a groundbreaking and alarming research study to closely examine the issue of missing Aboriginal women in Canada. Their findings were alarming. More than 500 women were “reported” to be missing. This number, with further research has risen to nearly 600. Imagine this space filled with people and suddenly they vanish, never to be seen again,” she said at the presentation at the Western Financial Group City Centre Park in the city.
The image of our downtown park filled with women, and suddenly gone is both poignant and alarming.
To think 600 women went missing, about the population of Springside, and have not yet been found is startling. In Canada we look at the RCMP as one of the best police forces in the world, and while not every person will be found, 600 seems epidemic.
So the walk down Broadway Street in the city, and the short presentation on a cold afternoon at City Centre Park was part of a series nationally to make the public aware of the situation, and to remind society it needs to both keep pressure on authorities to continue searching for the missing women, and to begin to address the issues which make many Aboriginal women more prone to be victims.
In an age where there is a walk just about every weekend in support of one cause, or another, it is increasingly easy to tune them out, and to sadly ignore the effort.
But 600 women missing, their families and friends unsure of their fate are an issue deserving of support and attention, and in that regard Yorkton failed those women just as so many have before.
Only 10 people took part in the walk. Ten in a city of near-20,000, and a growing sector of that being Aboriginal. It was a massive fail by the people of our city.
We should expect better from our usually caring community.
Of course there are times poor event support still gets a message out because local media take the message to a broader audience.
Again Yorkton gets a fail. Three radio stations and not a microphone to be seen as Whiteman made here passionate presentation.
The major television station and local cable network were not in the park capturing her words on camera to be broadcast later.
Only one newspaper bothered to send a reporter to take notes on the cold afternoon (see the story this edition of Yorkton This Week).
Sadly most media missed out on a story that truly deserves to be told, and retold until something is done to bring closure to the families of those already missing, and until society does a better job of protecting its most vulnerable from disappearing without a trace.