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People marched in the Sisters in Spirit vigil in memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in October. Sudbury will host a conference on MMIWG on Nov. 29 and 30. (Robin De Angelis/CBC) Sudbury is taking the time to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) this week, with a conference from the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre and Greater Sudbury Police Services.

The conference is part of a larger strategy to raise awareness and prevent violence in the community, through the "Looking Ahead to Build the Spirit of Our Women – Learning to Live Free From Violence" project.

The conference will be held on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, and will feature a variety of presentations, workshops and performances.

Katherine McCarthy, author of Invisible Victims: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women , is the keynote speaker for the event.

She says it’s exciting to see a police department working closely with Indigenous communities, and she’s looking forward to learning more about what’s being done in Sudbury.

"I really, really have high hopes for what they’re doing here, and that it can be copied into other provinces and other communities," McCarthy says. "I think it’s a big step towards building trust." ‘The truth is always better’

Katherine McCarthy is the author of "Invisible Victims: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women." (Katherine McCarthy/Facebook) When McCarthy first began researching the MMIWG crisis in 2014, many people were unaware of the discrimination and violence Indigenous women and girls experience.

McCarthy — an Indigenous woman herself — says she didn’t realize the extent of the crisis until she read about the death of Loretta Saunders, an Inuk woman from Labrador. Saunders was working on a thesis about missing and murdered women at the time of her death.

"That’s really when I started paying attention to the prevalence of the whole thing, and how this had really turned into a major crisis, and really, a shame for the country," She says.

McCarthy says a lot of work still needs to be done to confront some challenging realities about Canada’s treatment of Indigenous women, but she’s glad to see these kinds of open conversations in our communities.

"I’m glad that people are opening their eyes. The truth is always better. And you know it really needs to come out."

More information about the Honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Conference can be found on the Greater Sudbury Police Services website .

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