Nearly 50 people took to the streets to walk in honour of the missing and murdered aboriginal women.
The rally featured guest speaker Beverley Jacobs, a Mohawk lawyer from the Six Nations reserve in Ontario who is widely known for her speech to Parliament in summer 2008 after the Residential School Apology. Jacobs is also a former President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and was the lead researcher for Amnesty International’s 2004 Stolen Sisters Report.
Speaking to the Houston demonstrators gathered outside of the Houston Chamber of Commerce last Friday, Jacobs spoke of her speech to Parliament in 2008.
“One of my responses was ‘what are you going to do about it? You can apologize and an abuser can apologize over and over and over again. But if they’re still kicking you, then it’s not a real apology. It’s when we see that actions are following their words,” she said.
But Jacobs doesn’t believe the government will bring change.
“It’s the grassroots, it’s the communities that are going to make the change and it’s going to be our families that are going to make the change…
“The only way that the violence will stop is when we care,” she said.
One important teaching Jacobs said she was taught in her community is called the Great Law of Peace, Gayanashagowa, which is about having unconditional love for everyone.
“We’re all human..we’re all connected in that way. We have a responsibility to each other, no matter what race we’re from,” she said.
The important thing is to love all nations, all humans, and to teach the younger ones about caring and kindness and love, she said.
“I want to honour you,” she told the demonstrators on Friday.
“We’re here to acknowledge all of those that we’ve lost, all of those that we’re helping and all of those that we need to embrace in love, even the ones who hurt us.
“The ones who are doing the killing, who are stealing our women, we have to pray hard for them. We need to pray hard that they will stop doing what they’re doing,” she said.
Jacobs her role is to visit and to remind people of their responsibility to love and care for each other, and that is why she came to Houston.
“I’ve made a commitment to community, to my friends, to those people that I want to share teachings with, about the reasons why we need to continue to care about each other…
“It’s really important to honour everyone, whether they are here in this lifetime or not.
“We have to continue to sing our songs and continue to teach them to our young people, and keep carrying those banners, and keep fighting.
“Unfortunately we have to keep fighting, but hopefully someday it won’t be a fight anymore, especially for [the young ones].
“That’s why we do it. That’s why I do it,” she said.