The Saskatoon exhibit has ended and we would like to thank everyone involved.
Thank you to Tyrone Tootoosis for his beautiful article describing the WWOS Saskatoon exhibit.
OVERWHELMING RESPONSE TO EXHIBIT HONOURING INDIGENOUS WOMEN:
“The 1,808 moccasin vamps that form the Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) Exhibit commemorates Canada’s 1,200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The vast majority of the vamps were made by Aboriginal women from across the country and then submitted to well known Toronto based artist Christi Belcourt. She originally conceptualized the exhibit and sent a call out through social media hoping to get about 500 vamps for the show.
However, the overwhelming nation-wide response resulted in 1,808 moccasin vamp submissions.
The Grand Opening of Walking With Our Sisters was at 7:00pm, Friday, Oct. 30th and coincided with the first Grand Entry of the 2014 Annual FSIN Powwow and Cultural Celebrations at Saskatoon’s Sasktel Centre.
Amongst other unique aspects of this exhibit is that no government money is requested nor accepted by WWOS with all money being generated through various fund raising efforts.
To that end, a blanket dance for WWOS was held on the last day of the Pow Wow and to everyone`s disbelief, $1,808.00 was generously given by the people….the amount matching the number of vamps in the WWOS Exhibit!”
This image is “a tribute to all the men out there working so hard to keep the fire burning.”
Thank you to our Volunteers!
At every location Walking With Our Sisters is able to happen because of all the volunteers who come and give of their time. From Elders, the Keepers of the Bundle, the people who come to help do the hard work of install and de-installs, as well as all those who help with programming, outreach and making sure visitors to the memorial are taken care of, we can say thank you enough.
Here are some final images of the WWOS Saskatoon committee members and volunteers at our Volunteer Appreciation event.
WWOS Saskatoon hosted a moving event – The Stories of Our Vamps
Thank you to each of the women who shared their deeply personal and emotional stories of the vamp contributions. A beautiful evening!
Our Firekeepers play an important role!
Ray is a Wanuskewin employee but also firekeeper on call. His buddy Keaton was shy, didn’t want his pic taken. Can always count on these two guys to step in whenever and wherever needed.
WWOS Women’s Circle Teachings with Grandmothers and Keepers!
Lots of emotions and sharing. Beautiful. Drummers were on hand, playing in the background playing for the sisters and in the tipi.
Men and women gathered at Station 20 West to learn about First Nations culture, the importance of equality, the importance of women to First Nations ceremony, and more! Thanks to Bob Badger and John Noon for sharing their knowledge.
Members of the WWOS National Collective arrived to offer assistance and support for the installation and opening of Walking With Our Sisters Saskatoon. Glenda Abbott gave them a tour of the Wanuskewin ground. Along with having their presence and support we also appreciated their contribution to the WWOS Panel Discussion on November 1.
Beautiful Morning Thank you to our firekeepers volunteers and visitors One young man checked in from the Pow-Wow yesterday from North Battleford going to school in Regina, wanted to do a night. Men’s teachings this Wednesday coming up.
Final Day of Installation! A job well done at Walking With Our Sisters Saskatoon. Thank you to all our volunteers who helped create a beautiful space to honour our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
We’re in full swing – beginning with an interview from RAWLCO media – thank you KM – other media support includes Eagle Feather News with donated ads since the summer, coverage on this issue for many years, and coverage of WWOS since before it opened in Regina as well as generous copy space – and CTV has had coverage as well. Star-Phoenix’s Betty Ann Adams spoke to this issue via Joseph Boyden when he travelled through. We know many more will come out to support this initiative.
First day of installation: Indigenous youth from St.Marys Wellness & Education Centre preparing the lodge by laying down the sage on the floor. #youthresurgence
This classroom of youth had been taken out on the land by their teacher, Jennifer Altenberg, as she always does – but they not only picked sage for classroom use but also for WWOS-S to use for this and the future installs until spring. And then they came today to help put it down – the bending is one of the more strenuous tasks for us “less-young” folks which they did with NO PROBLEM.
THE BUNDLE HAS ARRIVED!
Livefeed via our Keepers: as the sky lightens, the Keepers wait outside with the bundle. The Firekeepers and others will be outside forming a welcome and protection for the bundle as the Keepers bring it in.
From our Facebook Page images of our men volunteering to chop and split wood for the sacred fire that will burn during the time the memorial is in Saskatoon:
Marjorie with our Willow Cree Healing Lodge male volunteers as they chop firewood today. Boxes of sage, and loads of wood. Our men, serving this lodge.
Just finished. Another crew. Another Load. Thanks to the guys from Willow Cree…many of whom have lost sisters mothers aunties cousins- healing for them to do this.
Last night just under 100 people came out for our volunteer orientation! It was a beautiful evening and I believe we could all feel the energy and anticipation of finally being able to plan for the installation of the vamps and bundle at Wanuskewin.
Thank you for all who volunteered for the exhibit!
Here are some images from our final Community Conversation. WWOS Saskatoon has hosted 12 Community Conversations in all!
On September 18th WWOS Saskatoon held a Coffee House and Silent Auction. We also coordinated an online auction. Below are images of some of the amazing work donated to us to help raise money for the memorial. Thank you to all the artists who donated their art, the performers who gave of their time for the Coffee House as well as everyone who participated by coming as well as bidding on the beautiful donations.
Work by Sean Couche.
“Tree of Plenty” gifted by Bluesky Crowe for the online auction.
Grandmothers and Keepers meet with Christi Belcourt and Tanya Kappo (WWOS National Collective) to discuss upcoming Walking with our Sisters – Saskatoon photos courtesy of Valerie Arnault-Pelletier.
Gathering sage for Walking With Our Sisters – Saskatoon.
It was a beautiful day, awesome company. We are grateful.
From our Facebook Page:
More than “A Few Good Men” – a full slate, and more welcomed. Men’s committee planning meeting last Tuesday at Saskatoon Indian & Metis Friendship Centre…love to all our good-hearted men who actively work against these issues which impact us all.
[Below is a] group shot of our seventh meeting, with a focus on men’s roles. After opening with prayers from our Grandmother, our Keeper spoke on some lodge teachings about the importance of men: this memorial is a lodge we are keeping, together, for our sisters, in ceremony. Have been struggling to find the english words to express the feelings in the room, and all I can come up with is “profound gratitude and safety and respect: and balance.” Maarsii and kininaskomitin to our men for coming out (and the ones texting to see how it was going, too!)
[Above] An interpreter signs for Carol Wolfe… mother of Karina Bethann Wolfe. Karina has been missing for four years now. Like her mother, she is a gentle and gifted woman: a talented artist and writer. Beloved, 5’7, 110 lbs, heart tattoo on her left hand. In this picture John Noon is requesting words…for the traditional song he’s been asked to write for the October 4th #MMIW vigil. He agreed to provide Carol with a copy of the words/translation, but wouldn’t it be awesome to have a community of signers present, and reclaim another traditional language! Carol was probably the most fluent traditional speaker in the room, because ASL is, way before kayas ago, developed from a universal trading language of Turtle Island – no small part Plains Cree contributions…It was beautiful to see ASL the whole meeting – Carol came previously but didn’t have an interpreter and so, she could only participate in a limited way. This time she was more fully included in the conversation, had a voice to speak for her when she had something to say, and as always we appreciated her presence and contribution.
This summer WWOS Saskatoon has hosted 3 Community Conversations (July 4, July 30, and August 6), community meetings and a Grandmothers and Keepers gathering at Elder Maria Campbell’s home. Also, WWOS Saskatoon had a visit from Christi Belcourt who came to help gather wild sage for the memorial.
From our Facebook Page:
“WWOS Grandmothers met at Maria Campbell’s. The night was filled with the strength and wisdom of the grandmothers who are guiding this process. Many great stories and teachings were shared in this circle while sitting and having tea and cake! Beautiful spirit and energy.”
WALKING WITH OUR SISTERS TESTIMONIALS: