Vigil celebrates ancestry and passion of murdered Labrador women

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Josh Pennell
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There were many smiles and many tears at a candlelight vigil for Labrador native Loretta Saunders at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in St. John’s on Thursday night.

A candlelight vigil for Labrador native Loretta Saunders drew a crowd to St. Mary's Anglican Church in St. John's on Thursday night. Vigils were held across Canada in her honour to end violence against women.

The vigil was one of many that took place across Canada in honour of Saunders and to call an end to violence against women.

Saunders went missing on Feb. 13 from Halifax where she was going to school. Her body was found more than ten days later. Her roommates are charged in connection with her murder.

The vigil celebrated Saunders’ Inuit background as well her thesis work on murdered and missing aboriginal women. It also included some of Saunders’ personal writings that were read by her sister-in-law, Paula McDonald.

“I refuse to let my past dictate my future,” was one phrase McDonald read.

Saunders was a passionate advocate for justice for indigenous women.

There was also drum dancing and throat singing during the hour long ceremony.

Saunders’ father, Clayton Saunders, was at the vigil with his wife.

“It was a lovely crowd. When you see a lot of people like that it gives you good comfort that there’s other people that care,” he said. “It was a real good comfort for me and my wife to see so many people.”

Clayton also commented on how encouraging it was that, even in her death, his daughter seemed to be carrying on her passion to end violence against women by inspiring others to pick up her work.

At the end of the vigil, people laid candles around a picture of Saunders that sat at the head of the church.

Geographic location: Canada, Halifax

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