The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Rights + Justice

‘We Are Marching Until the Violence Against Women Ends’

After an especially deadly year in the Downtown Eastside, families and supporters gathered to grieve and call for change.

Jen St. Denis 15 Feb 2021 |

Jen St. Denis is The Tyee’s Downtown Eastside reporter. Find her on Twitter @JenStDen. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

In Nohtikwewpisim’s culture, red is the only colour a spirit recognizes. So for the annual Women’s Memorial March in Vancouver Sunday, she and other women made dozens of red ribbon skirts to gift to participants.

“It was my hope that for this day, this ceremonial march, that loved ones that are lost will recognize the red and come and march with us,” Nohtikwewpisim told The Tyee.

This is the 30th year Indigenous families and supporters have gathered in the Downtown Eastside to remember the women and girls who have died or gone missing.

“We are marching until the violence against women ends,” said one organizer before the march got under way. “It still continues.”

The march comes after a particularly deadly year for women in the Downtown Eastside. Organizer Myrna Cranmer told The Tyee she had a list of 50 women who had died in the past year.

The memorial march has always drawn attention to the disproportionate numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and organizers say it was more important than ever to hold the march this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deadly inequalities across Canadian society, with violence against women, fatal overdoses and racist incidents all increasing. And there has been new attention on the issue of systemic racism against Indigenous people in the B.C. health-care system.

851px version of 2021WomensMemorialMarchRose.jpg
851px version of 2021WomensMemorialMarchTulip.jpg
851px version of 2021WomensMemorialMarchYouth.jpg
Scenes from the Women’s Memorial March on Feb. 14, 2021. Photos by Jennifer Gauthier.

“Because of COVID, there are higher rates of racism, discrimination and violence,” said Sinktesapatawiya, a march organizer from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta.

“We have women who are going missing, women who are being murdered.”

Sinktesapatawiya said she believes there has been a “huge breakdown in community,” especially in the Downtown Eastside. She said she was particularly disturbed by media reports of the apparent daytime sexual assault of a semi-conscious woman on the sidewalk on East Hastings Street, with no one intervening.

Sheila Poorman and her daughter Paige Kiernan were marching with posters that showed photographs of Poorman’s daughter, Chelsea Poorman. Chelsea lived in the Downtown Eastside and was last seen in the first week of September. Poorman has been searching for her ever since.

“We’re here to support the other families who also have loved ones missing or have passed on,” said Poorman, who is from the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan.

851px version of PaigeKiernanWomensMarch2021.jpg
Chelsea Poorman’s sister, Paige Kiernan of Kawacatoose (Saskatchewan), holds up a sign at the annual Women’s Memorial March. Photo by Jennifer Gauthier.

Nohtikwewpisim, who is from the community of Maskwacis in central Alberta, says participating in the memorial march was a pivotal moment for her, reconnecting her with the culture and ceremony that had been missing from her life.

“When I first heard the march and the singing, the women and the drumming, it reminded me of where I came from, the culture I used to have, before day school, before I ended up in foster care in Calgary,” she said. “A lot of that culture and ceremony was dormant in my life.”

When Nohtikwewpisim was homeless in the Downtown Eastside, she experienced the violence many women face. “I escaped with my life a couple of times,” she said.

Several women took care of her during those years on the street, but she doesn’t know where they are today. During the march she was also thinking about a close friend who was recently murdered, and Billie Johnson, a woman from Edmonton who has been missing since December.

“When I went back home to Maskwacis and started taking part in ceremony, I was gifted a ribbon skirt because I was healing, and to identify myself in the spiritual realm as a life-giver,” she said.

“To honour ourselves as Indigenous women and life-givers, we wear skirts in ceremony — ribbon skirts.”

The annual Women’s Memorial March in the Downtown Eastside on Feb. 14, 2021. Photo by Jennifer Gauthier.

Other women worked with Nohtikwewpisim to make the 112 skirts that were gifted to women on Sunday.

“It’s always such a healing experience for the women. They come, they feel connected, they share whatever’s in their heart at the time,” she said.

“But it’s also to make a statement to Canada that there is a genocide happening in this country and we’re not invisible. It’s not acceptable and it won’t be ignored anymore.”  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll