10/05/2014 02:18 EDT | Updated 12/05/2014 05:59 EST

Missing, murdered aboriginal women honoured at St. John's vigil

A group of more than 100 people gathered at Memorial University in St. John's on Saturday for a vigil to honour missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The crowd also called for a national public inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of more than 1,200 aboriginal girls and women all across Canada.

Anita Kora, one of the organizers of the vigil, said the gathering people included aboriginal performers and throat singers, as well as family members who have lost mothers, children and daughters.

Kora, who grew up in Nain in northern Labrador, said her own family is no stranger to the issue talked about Saturday.

"I know the pain of having lost someone. My family lost my aunt - I never even got to meet her," she said.

"It's been 33 years and people say, 'Oh, well, you didn't know her," and I say that doesn't matter. My family still lost someone."

Kora said the group that gathered on Saturday is just a fraction of a larger national voice calling for Ottawa to launch an inquiry.

"It's a sad reality that we need to stop violence and to argue about why this violence is so devastating, and that's why we hold these vigils - so that we have a chance to all come together to unite and to say we're here, we are honouring these women, but we're also taking action to come together to say we want this crisis to stop," said Kora.

So far, the federal government has said a national inquiry isn't needed. Ottawa says each case is being taken seriously and is also being investigated by police.