Church bells ring across Canada for MMIW
- Tiffany Head | June 19, 2015
From a few blocks away, you could hear the church bells ringing on a Wednesday afternoon. People gathered at St. Paul’s Cathedral on McIntyre Street in Regina to take turns ringing the bell.
Each ring of the bell signified the 1181 missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) across Canada.
Members of the church started talking at their organizational meetings three months ago about how they could address what they felt was an unaddressed issue. The Canadian government has refused time and again to call an inquiry on MMIW.
The members of St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, headed by Reverend Mike Sinclair, started the 22 day campaign that marked the end of the TRC, the launching of the final report, and National Aboriginal day on June 21st.
“In that 22 days, we have been called upon to be thinking about what our next steps are in moving forward in equal relationships and how we can continue in reconciliation."
The start of the ringing of the bells reached other Anglican churches across Canada and started a ripple effect.
“It became apparent to them (Anglican churches) in Toronto that we were doing this here and soon it got launched across the whole country. A hundred churches across the country every Wednesday ring the bells at 2:00 pm 1181 times,” said Sinclair.
Diane Campeau rang the bell in honor of her murdered brother and sister. She also rang the bell for other family members missing their loved ones.
“It’s an issue and they [Canadian Government] can’t sweep it under the rug. It's important. Things like this help us make the public aware, that were going to remember these women. Also, the young men too that have disappeared as well. That they will not be forgotten, that we will always remember them and honor them,” said Campeau.
Campeau also acknowledges the church for their great work in raising awareness on the issue.
“I think it’s great that the Anglican Church is taking that step and trying to reconcile their past mistakes and acknowledging that they’ve done wrong. This is their way to help,” she said.
Sinclair says the Anglican Congregation Church ran residential schools across Canada and a lot of harm was done in that.
“Harm that we are seeking to help heal,” he said.
The Church will continue to ring the bells across Canada every Wednesday afternoon this month and Sinclair believes the number [of MMWI] is going to go up again as the RCMP is going to release a new finalized report this week on Friday.
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