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Hundreds of people gathered in the Rotunda of the Manitoba Legislative Building today to honour the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). 

The event coincides with MMIWG Honouring and Awareness Day, and the National MMIWG inquiry, which is in Winnipeg until Friday, Oct. 5.

One of the people who shared their stories was Kim Geswein, whose mother was murdered 24 years ago in a case that is still unsolved. She says she was initially hesitant to dig into her mother's death and share her story, but in recent years she has started to talk about it and hopes that will encourage others to do the same. 

"I have that hope and I just want to let people know that I am still here today, I am becoming stronger as a person and I am helping in spreading this awareness," Geswein said. "There are way too many of our girls still missing or being murdered, and if they are murdered there are a lot of cases that go unsolved or there is no justice." 

Geswein says her mother and a man were murdered at the same time, and while a suspect was arrested and convicted in the man's death, nobody was brought to justice for her mother. 

"Someone is responsible for her death and people need to be aware of that," she said. "I was very honoured and touched to be able to share my story, and I have regained hope that maybe someone will come forward with new information and someone will be convicted for my mother's death." 

The event was organized by MLA's Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas) and Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns), who introduced a bill in 2017 that would recognize Oct. 4 in Manitoba as MMIWG Honouring and Awareness Day every year. 

Smith says it's important to keep these families in the national conversation. 

"We've had this inquiry going on for years now and there is no additional resources or preventative measures in place and it's still happening," Smith said. "This is just one thing we can do, but we as a society have to change the way we treat each other and come together to stand united in stopping this from happening." 

Smith says it's going to take a team approach to solve this issue, from the Prime Minister's office down to local organizations. 

"The police can only do so much, the provincial and federal governments can only do so much and grassroots organizations with their boots on the ground can only do so much," Smith said. "This event today is about sending that message that it's going to take all of us to tackle this." 

Smith says she wants to see a better child welfare system in every province, preventative resources for Indigenous youth and an increase in support services for MMIWG families.