Shaylanna’s MMIW Walk

K’alaaga Jaad Jana Mcleod

When a family has a loss, Haida Gwaii gathers around those directly involved to offer comfort. Our compassion drives the action needed to assist people going through what is usually the worst time in their lives. We fundraise and offer words to try and soothe their heartbreak. However, there comes a time when we are lost in ways to comfort someone because we cannot imagine their pain. It envelops each word we try to utter, it’s a helpless feeling.

Monica Browns daughter Shaylanna Lewis-Brown has been missing since March 21, 2020. For the second year The MMIW walk for Shaylanna took place on March 21, 2022 beginning at the Community Hall in Gaw Tlagée Old Massett.

We were able to demonstrate our support for this cause, along with Shaylannas’ friends and family. The parking places were quickly filling up and a line for those registering for the walk grew. Others just went straight into the hall. There were tables of door prizes, information booths, and loonie auction items, which included gorgeous beaded earrings, a case of salmon and much more.

Many lined up to get their daily steps in for Shaylanna and on mass we all got underway. It was a great feeling seeing so many people support this movement. It’s been a long time coming. Some went the whole distance of 10kms and others did the loop around the hospital. When we got back lunch was being served, speeches were made and the Woman’s Warrior song was performed.

It was an excellent turnout. Monica shared what was happening before Shaylanna vanished, it was chilling. She urged people if they seen or heard anything to please let the authorities know. Even the most minor detail can bring new leads to her daughters’ discovery. Her Facebook page is “Bring Shaylanna Home” it has up to date information.

Use the hashtag #Bringshaylannahome on Tiktok, Twitter, and Facebook. There has to be someone who is out there holding onto information they might think is too minor. Please call the local RCMP at 250-626-3991 or Crimestoppers 1-800-222-8477

Before I left, I stopped by the Indian Residential School Survivors table and visited with their representatives which are Chas Coutlee, MMIWG coordinator for the Vancouver Coastal region, Connie Greyeyes MMIWG coordinator for the Northern region, and Monica’s mother Adeline Brown, Resolution Heath Support Worker Supervisor. Some services they provide for the those affected by the issue of MMIWG are grief counselling, local victim services, educational workshops and presentations.

Their crisis line is 1-800-721-0066, or phone 604-985-4464 and email reception@irsss.ca. All schools can look into what the society can do for the students and staff. Learning about what Indigenous People face, and how it might affect their mental health is such an asset to any educational institution.

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