A commemorative art installation to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous Women is headed to the Peace region next month.
Connie Greyeyes-Dick broke the news in The Mirror last year. She said she was looking on the Walking With Our Sisters website a few years back and made some calls.
“I thought it would be great to have up here and would love to bring WWOS here,” she says.
“Then we were on the schedule.”
Walking With Our Sisters acknowledges the grief and torment families of the missing continue to suffer; and to raise awareness of this issue and create opportunity for community dialogues on the issue.
Greyeyes-Dick says the moccasin tops, or vamps, are an emotional part of the project.
In June of 2012, a general call was issued on issued on Facebook for people to create moccasin tops. The call was answered by women, men and children of all ages and races. Within a year over 1,600 vamps had been received, almost tripling the initial goal of 600.
“Seeing the art representing the women, it is an emotional exhibit – heart wrenching when you see the names and the people,” she adds.
“The exhibit is important because it is about the education of the past, and it can open the door for people to express how they are feeling over the loss of a loved one.”
More than 1,181+ native women and girls in Canada have been reported missing or have been murdered in the last 30 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or murders paid.
Walking With Our Sisters is a massive commemorative art installation comprised of 1,763+ pairs of moccasin vamps (tops) plus 108 pairs of children’s vamps.
Each pair of vamps (or “uppers” as they are also called) represents one missing or murdered Indigenous woman. The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women whose lives were cut short. The children’s vamps are dedicated to children who never returned home from residential schools. Together the installation represents all these women; paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners. They have been cared for, they have been loved, they are missing and they are not forgotten.
Greyeyes-Dick talks about the dynamics of being in extraction country and how the WWOS exhibit is key.
“Extraction work brings the variance of the rich and poor together quickly. People getting followed in a grocery store, just to be sure they are paying for everything, that has happened to me. This exhibit combats that normalization we see all the time on social media and in life.”
For more information, to donate, or volunteer call 250-793-1468.
Walking With Our Sisters will at the Taylor Community Hall from September 10 to 16. An opening ceremony goes at 1pm on Sept 10. The event is free to all members of the public.