Bow Valley High School is welcoming interested people to join them this Friday (May 5) in an assembly and walk in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

The assembly begins around 10 a.m. and features speakers from the Stoney Nakoda Nation. The walk around the school follows and it should all wrap up by noon.

BVHS teacher Jenisse Galloway says a similar event was held last year and they didn't want it to be a token gesture.

"So we were very, very adamant that this year we wanted to be continuing that same discussion and that same kind of feeling of building community and building on the learning that we had done so," she explains.

Guests include Stoney Nakoda elder Glenda Crawler, Gloria Snow, and her nephew Kyle Snow.

"They're going to do a little assembly with our entire school, and then we'll go out and do the walk, followed by a round dance as a symbol of building our friendship and moving forward positively."

walkKyle Snow and Victoria Morris as well as Ken Levi (in the background to the right) were drumming at last year's walk. (file photo)

Galloway says some residents as well as students from Cochrane High joined them last year, and they continue to welcome people.

"We're happy to have other people from the community join us if they're looking for somewhere to be able to show their support," she says.  "Last year, I know we had some people show up because of the article that was in Cochrane Now."

Today, Bow Valley High students will be learning why we take time to pause and gather, who are we honoring, and why it focuses on women, girls, and the two-spirit community.

Behind the scenes, some Bow Valley staff members learned how to do beading from Indigenous community members and are sharing those skills with some students to make red dress beaded pins. They are being sold as a school fundraiser.

According to statistics from the federal Justice Department, Indigenous women accounted for nine per cent of female homicide victims in 1980. By 2014, that had escalated to 21 per cent, almost six times higher than non-Indigenous women. Of those, 17 per cent occurred on a street, a road, or a highway, compared to one per cent of non-Indigenous women.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons unanimously backed a motion declaring the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls a Canada-wide emergency and is calling for funding for a new system to alert the public when someone goes missing.