Thousands of Indigenous Women are gathering on Seattle’s Capitol Hill for a massive march

People are starting to gather at Cal Anderson Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill for the start of the Women’s March.

The official program will start at 10 a.m., but organizers suggested people arrive early to avoid traffic and parking headaches.

The march will be led by members of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women group who work to bring awareness to the epidemic of violence against indigenous women in the United States and Canada.

The group began with opening prayers by Duwamish tribal member Blake Shelafoe and Duwamish chairwoman Cecile Hansen, who is a descendant of Chief Seattle.

Saturday’s march marks one year since a record-breaking crowd of between 100,000 to 122,000 people thronged the Central District and downtown to decry President Donald Trump’s inauguration. On Sunday, businesses and nonprofits citywide will host events to spur activism beyond the streets, an effort called “Womxn Act on Seattle.”

“To my people, the Oceti Sakowin — the Great Sioux Nation of Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota — women are sacred and powerful beings. Women are the root, heart and the backbone of our communities. We are to be honored and respected. The Oceti Sakowin were even gifted the Way of the Pipe — the foundation of our belief system, whose smoke carries our prayers to Wakantanka (the Great Mystery) — and our seven sacred rites by a feminine deity, Pte San Win, or White Buffalo Calf Woman.” said Ruth Hopkins

“As an Indigenous woman & Grandmother I have survived much trauma. I have often prayed and asked creator how and why did I survive and so many of my sister’s did not. My path has taken me on many front-lines of grassroots movements to use my voice for Justice. It has been a honor & humbling experience to assist on coordinating & organizing the Indigenous led portion of this Seattle Women’s March 2018. Our only purpose is to honor the M.I.W.W. families & bring awareness to the world of this Epidemic in Our Nations across Turtle Island, Canada & North America. I believe in my spirit that I have been called speak out & stand for all those that don’t have a voice.” ~Roxanne White (Yakama)

“Our Indigenous Women are spiritual beings. We have a close connection to the universe and all living beings. We are a door to the Spiritual realm. We are closely connected to the water and our Mother-earth. We are the original stewards and caretakers of this land. Earth Feather Sovereign (Colville)