The Penticton Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation Alliance are letting the public know that they are not going to forget about the death of Roxanne Louie.
The band is hosting a Ride for Justice on Sept. 21 to raise awareness for not only Louie, a 26-year-old member of the Osoyoos Indian Band who was found dead on Jan. 12, but all missing or murdered women.
“The Ride for Justice is for the many missing and murdered native women in this country, but I’ve been talking to the elders too and they were saying they would like to see it broadened to all missing women because this problem is not a race-based thing,” said Dan Wilson, a spokesperson for the Louie family.
The rally coincides with a court appearance for Grace Robotti and her brother Pier, who are both facing charges of second-degree murder in relation to Louie’s death.
“The main thing is to raise awareness to ensure justice is done, to ensure that we’re not forgetting about Roxanne Louie,” Wilson said.
The court appearance will be brief, and the trial is expected to take place some time in 2016.
The ride, which will be escorted by Penticton RCMP, will cross the bridge on Green Mountain Road, turn off Duncan Avenue and then head down Main Street to the Penticton Court House.
A camp at the Penticton Indian Band Ball Park will be set up on Sept. 20 for those who will be riding horses. Those attending are being asked to bring their own camping materials. A test ride will take place on band land on Sept. 20 as well.
Members of Indian Bands from around the area including the Nicola Tribal Association will be attending.
After the brief court appearance by the Robottis, there will be different speakers at Gyro Park across the street from the courthouse including women’s representative for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) Coola Louis, chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and president of the UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. Invites have been sent to Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie as well as other Chiefs in the area.
“We want to send the message to everyone that we’re not forgetting Roxanne so her memory can be kept alive, and we don’t want this to happen to anyone,” Wilson said.
“The family would like to invite all the other Okanagan Chiefs to speak at the rally.”