A Mi'kmaq elder in Yarmouth says poverty is a source of abuse and affects many Indigenous women.
Marilyn Francis attended last night's vigil at Frost Park in Yarmouth marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action On Violence Against Women.
According to a 2013 report by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Aboriginal women in this country report rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Aboriginal women.\
The exact number of Indigenous women and girls that have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada over the past 30 to 40 years is uncertain, with estimates ranging from approximately 1,000 to nearly 4,000.
Four months ago Francis attended the Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
"I think it's very good that our voices are being heard finally and that the families are being listened to."
Francis says people need to reach out and embrace their culture.
"To reach our people and our young people, it has to be at a younger age so that our children won't have to suffer that pain and carry that trauma. Poverty is very high in our communities right across Turtle Island (some Indigenous people call the continent of North America Turtle Island, others such as the Ojibwa, use it to refer to the whole world). Poverty is also a source of abuse. They need to start using a culture more to reach people, especially our youth."
Francis also says men's stories must also be heard so they can become the dad's and the brother's they need to be.