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The Campbell River RCMP is investigating repeated thefts at a Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies, Ladies and Two-Spirit (MMIWG2S) memorial simply outdoors Campbell River.

Leslie Hnatiw, an organizer of the memorial which options purple clothes and indicators that say “Justice 4 Indigenous” and “Search The Landfill,” says she first observed the indicators and clothes had been taken round Feb. 10.

She put two extra purple clothes up of their place in time for the annual Ladies’s Memorial March on Feb. 14, however discovered the subsequent day that these two clothes had been taken once more as nicely.

On Feb. 15, she contacted police, and Campbell River RCMP have confirmed with CHEK Information that they’re investigating.

First incident at memorial

The memorial was first arrange in January 2023, and within the 12 months because it opened Hnatiw says that it has “by no means been touched.”

The memorial is positioned alongside Freeway 19 close to Wei Wai Kum First Nation land.

Hnatiw says organizers have spoken with the Metropolis of Campbell River, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Mainroad Contracting, the group employed to take care of the freeway within the space.

She says all three teams have been extraordinarily supportive of the memorial.

“I did marvel if it was them (Mainroad) that eliminated it, however they’ve been actually supportive they usually truly said that they’d by no means contact any purple clothes or Indigenous indicators alongside the highways,” she mentioned in an interview on Feb. 28.

Hnatiw hopes the incident can be investigated as a hate crime, although RCMP say they’re nonetheless wanting into the matter.

“It’s necessary that we comply with proof to seek out out what occurred with a purpose to decide if there was malicious intent on this matter, and at this level that isn’t clear,” mentioned the Campbell River RCMP in an announcement on Feb. 26. “We might ask that anybody with info contact the native RCMP workplace at 250-286-6221.”

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The memorial earlier than it was stolen is pictured. (Submitted)

‘No area for racism’

Hnatiw says the repeated thefts on the memorial have been painful for her and the broader First Nations group within the space.

“We did this (made the memorial) to honour lacking and murdered Indigenous girls, and households of these girls, and we’re in search of consciousness in addition to justice,” she mentioned.

“I’m hoping that this particular person is caught, or these persons are caught, and that they’re charged with a hate crime, as it’s a hate crime.”

She says that the struggles of Indigenous folks, significantly lacking girls, have been repeatedly silenced in Canada and that the stolen indicators are one other option to decrease the problem.

“[We’re] making a loud message to the remainder of Canada that this isn’t OK anymore, there’s no area for racism in our nation anymore,” mentioned Hnatiw. “That is homeland, that is stolen homeland that these settlers reside on, and they should begin respecting it as such.”

Hnatiw says there’s already plans to rebuild the memorial and to make it a extra everlasting web site.

She provides that Indigenous Elders from throughout Vancouver Island, spanning from “Port Hardy to Victoria,” are engaged on a big MMIWG2S show in time for the spring.

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