Family members of missing and murdered men, women and children are supported by the crowd gathered Saturday. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Weather postpones Duncan walk for missing and murdered, but support for families strong

Nasty weather was no match for people who are grieving the loss of family members.

The cold, windy weather on the weekend forced the postponement of a walk honouring missing and murdered Aboriginal men, women and children but it failed to dampen the spirit of support for several families.

The second annual walk was scheduled to wind its way through Duncan on Saturday morning but organizers opted to restrict activities to a feast and indoor ceremonies at Siem Lelum Gym.

Several hundred people gathered to honour the memories of victims of violent crime and mysterious disappearances. Some of the cases go back as far as 42 years, when 27-year-old Cathy Joe, a Cowichan Tribes woman, was murdered.

Members of 2011 murder victim Tyeshia Jones’s family, and family members of Delores Brown, 19 when she was murdered in 2015, were in attendance as were relatives of missing local men, Everett Jones and Desmond Peter. Family members of a third missing Vancouver Island man were also present.

Speaking to the crowd that included elders, dignitaries and people from around the region, spokesman Jonathon Joe said the pain never goes away.

“Her daughter is holding her mother’s picture,” Joe said, referring to Cathy Joe, who was beaten and raped and left in a ditch along Vimy Road. “Her mom was taken away. She was missing six months. Why has no one come forward?

“Is this how women are treated in this town, in this country?”

Joe says the family and the entire community is left with disturbing questions.

“It’s unsolved. It happened right in this community. In Duncan, in Cowichan. We are looking for a better justice system for women.”

Ann Bob, minister of the Shaker Church in Duncan, had words of support for young family members.

“Take care of yourselves,” Bob said. “Because you are special.”

Dolly Sylvester, also from the Shaker Church, brought her wisdom and empathy to the families.

“It is never ending, I know that. No matter who you lost, only prayers can help us, my brothers and sisters.

“Prayers, that’s all you can do to help,” she continued. Don’t cry too long, don’t weaken your mind. Just pray.”

It is expected the walk will be rescheduled in the spring but no date has been set.

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