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The Tina Fontaine and Faron Hall Walk and Vigil

The massive crowd protesting for awarness of the Tina Fontaine and Faron Hall Walk and Vigil

A walk to honour: Raising awareness to create positive change

December 10, 2014 — 

WHAT: The Tina Fontaine and Faron Hall Walk and Vigil

THE INSPIRATION: Tina Fontaine and Faron Hall’s lives ended tragically in the summer of 2014. Hall, who made headlines as the ‘Homeless Hero,’ drowned in the Red River, having saved two people from the same fate years earlier. When police divers were searching for Hall, they discovered the body of 15-year-old Fontaine, whose death is now being investigated as a homicide. Police believe that prior to Fontaine’s disappearance, she had run away from the care of Child and Family Services—a system that has come under much scrutiny by advocates like Niigaan Sinclair, Native studies professor at the U of M and one of the event organizers.

AN EVENING OF HONOUR: Members of the Aboriginal community sang traditional songs and offered prayers for Fontaine and Hall. Their families led roughly 2,000 people through the streets of Winnipeg toward Oodena Circle at the Forks, where they held a candlelight vigil. Many of the speakers—including Canadian journalist and U of M alumnus Wab Kinew and Derek Nepinak, grand chief of the Manitoba Assembly of Chiefs—voiced their concerns about the hundreds of Aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered.

THE GOAL: To unite the community and encourage Manitobans to do their part to create positive change. “What do you do in your everyday life when you see people like Faron Hall or you see people like Tina Fontaine? Do you turn a blind eye or do you engage those people responsibly? Because somewhere, someone out there knows what happened to Tina Fontaine,” Sinclair told Winnipeg Alternative Media.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Michael Champagne, an event organizer, told the Winnipeg Free Press, “We want people to understand, these are two of our relatives, but it represents entire communities that need all of our help.”

SUCCESS: “This community stood up and was responsible and engaged the issue in a fashion I haven’t seen probably ever before,” Sinclair said. “I saw change tonight in inspiring and beautiful ways that I knew I would see in my lifetime but maybe not this early. This night is a part of all of us and it’s a pathway to the future. What happened tonight is a way in which our community for the first time in its history could really be, which was a community of responsibility and of ethics, and driven by love.”

THE NEXT STEP: “Part of being a responsible citizen is standing up, not just coming to a gathering but also learning from that gathering and acting on it, acting on this information. Because once you know something, you carry that information. It’s a gift,” said Sinclair.

 


 

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