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A woman places roses on photos of murdered or missing women after the Missing Women Coalition had a meeting with Minister of Justice and Attorney General Suzanne Anton in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday November 25, 2013.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

The provincial government and aboriginal groups have agreed to host a gathering for families of missing and murdered indigenous women.

The gathering, to be held in B.C. this fall or in the spring of 2016, is to provide a "safe and supportive space" for families and help identify strategies to end violence against aboriginal women and girls, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

The family gathering stems from an agreement – the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Stopping Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls – signed last year by the province and groups including the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

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On the recent one-year anniversary of that agreement, the parties met to plan next steps, including the family gathering.

"We are hopeful that the gathering will provide much-needed support to families who have tragically lost their loved ones," UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said in a statement.

Chief Phillip also cited a recent report on a child's death by B.C.'s representative for children and youth, saying it "demonstrates the institutionalized attitude of indifference to the safety of aboriginal women and girls that we absolutely must change."

Representatives of First Nations Summit, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and Métis Nation B.C., all of which are parties to last year's memorandum of understanding, also praised the proposed family gathering.

Last year, the RCMP released a report that found at least 1,181 indigenous women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. The report also found aboriginal women accounted for 16 per cent of murdered women and 11.3 per cent of missing women while making up only 4.3 per cent of Canada's female population. The RCMP is scheduled to update that report on Friday.

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