Bells toll downtown to commemorate missing and murdered indigenous women
Published Sunday, June 21, 2015 5:26PM MDT Last Updated Sunday, June 21, 2015 6:08PM MDT
Canadians gathered in somber reflection on Sunday as the bells rang at Anglican cathedrals across the country to symbolize social injustices plaguing Canada’s First Nation communities.
The bells tolled once for each missing or murdered indigenous woman in Canada.
The 1,181 tolls of the bells at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer on 1 Street Southeast lasted for more than two hours.
“In the past, churches tolled bells for emergencies,” explained Ruth Parent, Rector’s warden of the cathedral. “We feel the missing and murdered aboriginal women is an emergency.”
“We recognize that ringing the bells is simply a gesture. It's not going to change what has happened. We simply want the family and friends to know that we are in solidarity with them.”
The bell-ringing marks the end of 22 days of prayer for reconciliation in connection to the tragic legacy of Canada’s residential school system. The Anglican Church was one of the administrative bodies of the system.
The family of 26-year-old Anthony Stevenson felt the impact of the residential school system.
“I’m the reason my mother got out of residential school,” said Stevenson. “She got pregnant with me and I took her out of there.”
While Stevenson would like to see increased action from government and police into the atrocities facing indigenous women, he appreciates the efforts of the church.
“At least they're spreading awareness,” said Stevenson. “Before, I don't think anyone would touch the subject.”
With files from CTV’s Bridget Brown