WIKWEMIKONG— The sound of the Holy Cross Mission bell could be heard ringing throughout Wikwemikong the last two Wednesdays, joining the ‘wave of sound’ across the country commemorating missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“We have been ringing the bell leading up to National Aboriginal Day (Sunday, June 21),” Shanna Peltier, a member of the Youth and Mental Health Team at the Nahndahweh Tchigehgamig Health Centre, told The Expositor. “We learned about the movement across Canada and wanted to do something to show our support.”

Members of the Youth and Mental Health Team at the Nahndahweh Tchigehgamig Health Centre and Wikwemikong community members at the Holy Cross Mission church raising awareness for the 22 Day campaign, which called on churches across the Canada to ring their bells for murdered and missing aboriginal women. photo by Robin Burridge
Members of the Youth and Mental Health Team at the Nahndahweh Tchigehgamig Health Centre and Wikwemikong community members at the Holy Cross Mission church raising awareness for the 22 Day campaign, which called on churches across the Canada to ring their bells for murdered and missing aboriginal women.
photo by Robin Burridge

The initiative is part of the 22 Day campaign calling on churches across the nation to ring their bells in unison at 2 pm, 1,222 times (once for each aboriginal woman currently unaccounted for in Canada) to create a wave of sound across Canada.

“There are 1,122 aboriginal women on the RCMP’s list of missing and murdered aboriginal women,” shared Ms. Peltier. “We wanted to not only show our support for the movement, but bring awareness to this issue. Reading the statistics about missing and murdered aboriginal women was a real eye opener, even for me as an aboriginal woman.”

Ms. Peltier was joined by coworkers and community members at the Holy Cross Mission last Wednesday (as well as June 10), bringing awareness to the issue through signs and the ringing of the church bells.

Following the ringing of the bells, hand drummers Adam Kaboni and Harvey Bell performed a song. The assembled group also played the song ‘Missing,’ written about missing and murdered aboriginal women by Wikwemikong’s Gerry Kaboni.

Mr. Kaboni said he was inspired to write the song after hearing an interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Aboriginal church bells 2

“He said there wasn’t enough money and resources to look into these women,” said Mr. Kaboni. “I turned my frustrations into this song and I encourage individuals and groups across Canada who are protesting this issue to sell the CD and use the proceeds for printing or other things to help their campaign.”

The single ‘Missing’ is available at the Wikwemikong Heritage Organization (WHO).