First, we want to thank our communities within the Okanagan for their continued support. Specifically, we want to thank those who came forward with information when Roxanne first went missing. Thank you to all those who showed their support during the “Prayer Walk” while Roxanne was still missing. We believe the added pressure from community support finally drove the Robotti’s to confess their crime. Thank you to everyone who organized and attended rallies at the Penticton courthouse during the bail hearing and preliminary hearing. Thank you to all the organizers of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s annual vigil on February 14th. Additional thanks to the UBCO Women’s Resource Centre for holding Tea Talks on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women. These events are crucial for raising awareness and empowering Indigenous voices. Additional thanks to the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation Transition Emergency House (ONTAH). Also, special thanks to Okanagan Nation Alliance emergency response team for their support throughout the trial.
Roxanne Louie died under tragic circumstances, and we acknowledge these circumstances. However, we also ask everyone to see past the trauma inflicted upon Roxanne and to remember her for her vibrant energy. She was always filled with light-hearted laughter and determination. She was also a beautiful woman, with a great big smile. She grew to be a very generous and responsible mom, who loved to go on many outings to the park or beach with her son.
Nothing will ever bring our beloved Roxanne back. However, the jury’s verdict to convict Grace Robotti of second-degree murder is the best outcome in this terrible situation. Additionally, we are extremely disappointed in Pier Robotti’s sentence of interfering with a body. These past two years have been extremely difficult; we feel our loss in so many ways. As family and friends to Roxanne we are still processing both convictions. However, we are relieved for the closure Grace Robotti’s verdict brings.
There are still many murdered and missing Indigenous women out there. Locally, three Indigenous women have been reported missing in the last five years alone. This includes Caitlyn Potts, Ashley Simpson, and Deanna Mildred Wertz. In all case’s the RCMP made a public statement asking for the public’s assistance. As Roxanne’s friends, family, and supporters, we wish to reiterate the RCMP’s request for public support. We learned that while Roxanne was missing, no information was too trivial. Therefore, if you have information about any of the missing women, bring it forward.
We hope that all of these women are found, and preferably found safe. We still remember what it was like searching for Roxanne, and we pray that this feeling is not prolonged for the families any further. We send our prayers and support to each of the women, along with their friends and families.
Additionally, we hope that Grace Robotti’s conviction makes potential perpetrators think twice about targeting Indigenous women. There is an estimated 1,500 murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. Organizations such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls indicate that this is not just an Indigenous issue; it is a Canadian issue. This issue stems from deep-seated and widespread gendered racism that go unchecked. Such attitudes were showcased in Grace Robotti’s, Pier Robotti’s, and Dylan Spence’s descriptions of Roxanne. They were subtle remarks; however, they suggested that violence towards Roxanne was justifiable due to their perception of who she was, which was inextricably tied to her Indigenous heritage. Therefore, it is important to take notice of these harmful attitudes, and how society is slowly adjusting so that perpetrators are more often held accountable. There is still more work to be done. However, this is one step in the right direction.
Moving forward we will continue to advocate for Roxanne, her son, along with all missing and murdered Indigenous women, including those impacted.
Lim’limt from the Hall and Louie family.