Lee Anne and Art Ward’s daughter Kristina Ward was reported missing in September 2017. The parents were present at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march in Langley on Thursday, May 5, 2022. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
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Lee Anne and Art Ward’s daughter Kristina Ward was reported missing in September 2017. The parents were present at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march in Langley on Thursday, May 5, 2022. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times) video

Langley’s Aboriginal society hosts its second missing women’s march

Parents receive support by a local resident

Addressing an audience of about 80 people amid pouring rain, Kristina Ward’s parents Lee Anne and Art Ward spoke of their daughter’s disappearance in September 2017 and the torturous days since.

Just after their talk at the annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) walk, held on Thursday afternoon, Kristina’s parents were approached by a generous community member who promised a reward of $10,000 to anyone who helps the family find this missing Indigenous woman.

While Augustino Duminuco, founder of Infinite Expansion Foundation, brought a ray of hope to the Ward family, Fern Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nation took the stage to remind the audience about Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

Both Duminuco and Gabriel shared the same vision – to do what they can to bring closure to families of those missing.

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“All this is to remember missing women, and in the hope that one day they will return home,” said Gabriel, a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language teacher with the Langley School District.

Duminuco, too, shared the same sentiments and added that his donation was made with the hope of providing closure to Lee Anne and Art.

The donation came as a surprise to Gabriel, but she was happy to see community members stepping forward and spreading awareness.

“It is one of the calls to action… bringing awareness to people about MMIWG,” she said.

Hosted by the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, the second annual MMIWG walk started at noon on Thursday, May 5 – a day recognized as Red Dress Day or the National Day for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Initially planned on a different route, the walk was cut short due to rain, and the group covered the block surrounding the Aboriginal society’s office on Eastleigh Crescent.

“It could be because of rain that fewer people showed up at the event,” program aid coordinator Marlene Hibbs said, noting that about 200 people were originally expected to join them for the march.

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For Cecelia Reekie, an Aldergrove resident, the walk offered a moment to rethink about the history of Canada and colonization.

“We all are learning colonialism and how it impacted Indigenous peoples,” she said. “It is important that I stand with my sisters.”

Along with Reekie, many others were seen dressed in red, symbolizing a visual reminder of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The organizers also distributed red ribbons, which are symbolic of the MMIWG movement.

Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society was established in September 2000 by Aboriginal support workers in the Langley School District. They provide support and assistance to urban Aboriginals and their families.

Currently, they have three locations in Langley. For more information, people can 778-278-2006 or email at info@lfvas.org.

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Fern Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nation was invited as the guest speaker at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

Fern Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nation was invited as the guest speaker at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

About 80 people participated at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

About 80 people participated at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

About 80 people participated at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

About 80 people participated at the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls march host by Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)