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SJASD Students Listen and Learn About MMIWG2S+

October 04, 2023

​Today marks the 7th annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited People's (MMIWG2S) Honouring & Awareness Day in Manitoba and the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Two-Spirit, and Gender-Diverse People (MMIWG2S+) in Canada, which draws attention to the higher levels of violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people in Canada as a result of the impact of colonization.

GeorgeWaters_1_FB.jpgStudents at George Waters Middle School are taking part in school-wide, age-appropriate, teacher-led lessons on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited peoples as well as the broader topic of violence against women and children. Students have been invited to wear red and each student and staff member will receive a moose hide pin.

The pins are part of a larger grassroots, Indigenous-led Moose Hide Campaign to engage men and boys in ending violence toward women and children. While the campaign started in British Columbia ten years ago, it's spread across the country and people of all ages, genders and backgrounds are invited to take part in the campaign.

Adam Lister is the Principal of George Waters Middle School and wears a piece of moose hide on his school lanyard.

GeorgeWaters_2_Insta.jpg“Many of our students and community members have been impacted by the stories of women that have been missing or murdered in the wider community. By wearing red and wearing the Moosehide pin, our staff and students are supporting a call for greater awareness and action to address the disproportionate number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people, and violence against women generally."


At Westwood Collegiate, Grade 11 student Kylee B. addressed students and staff over the PA system. Kylee is an Indigenous student from South Indian Lake First Nation. With her mom's permission, she shared her perspectives and experiences on this important day.

​“Today isn't a day of memorial but a day of reflection and action," she said. “My family was considered lucky when my cousin Tessa's murder file was solved."

After Kylee's PA announcement, she explained that Tessa was tragically murdered by her partner in 2021. While she didn't know Tessa personally, her family members did, and were deeply impacted by the violence, and that impacted her as well.

“We had a big ceremony for her to say our goodbyes and lit candles for her at her house," she explained.

After the PA announcement, Kylee also shared that her aunt is currently missing and a victim of violence. She has been spotted periodically. Kylee grew up with her aunt and remembers having sleepovers at her house. “You want to believe that she's still okay," says Kylee.


Principal Kevin Dueck says that the experiences of Kylee's family are heart breaking, and it's important to support her as she shares her story with the wider school community.

“Our teachers are following up today with their classes to create safe spaces for students to have discussions about this sensitive topic," he says, adding that Kylee was very brave to tell her story.

Kylee describes herself as a happy, bright and energetic person. She admits that sharing her story was hard and emotional at times, and it may surprise fellow students, but she feels empowered by telling it.

“I wanted people to know that you're not alone. You can always speak to someone," she says. “I'm happy I did it. It was a big relief to have classes talking about it as well."

The province's Indigenous Education Policy Framework recommends that educators place students at the centre of learning by respecting and listening to them. SJASD's new Strategic Plan also calls for safe and inclusive learning environments that represent Indigenous languages, cultures and histories while also demonstrating a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

“It's great to support authentic voices like Kylee's in our school," explains Principal Dueck.

To learn more about the disproportionate violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited peoples throughout Canada and here in Winnipeg, read Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the 231 Calls for Justice.


For family members of victims and community members that may need support at this time, consider contacting the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls' toll-free support phone line (1-844-413-6649) or the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line (1-855-242-3310). SJASD students that need support can contact their school guidance counsellors or Educational Support Services.



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