WWOS Thunder Bay continues the conversation for International Women’s Day 2015
Thunder Bay had an amazing turn out on International Women’s Day! Based on the healing impact of Walking With Our Sisters – Thunder Bay has had on our community, the WWOS Thunder Bay Committee invited the community out for a 4th conversation.
The conversation focused on what, as a community, we can do to create better awareness, dialogue, healing, and safety in our community especially as it relates to violence and racism. The heart of the conversation was around embracing solutions and ways forward that make sense to us: the community. Each individual brought their strengths and ideas!
Also we received lots of media attention.
Walking with our Sisters gets Thunder Bay city council support, (March 10, 2015)
Forum examines violence against women, (March 9, 2015)
Walking with our Sisters heads to Thunder Bay city council, (March 9, 2015)
Walking with our Sisters hosts community discussion to address safety, by MATT VIS, (March 8, 2015)
Walking with our Sisters seeks solutions for Thunder Bay, by JAMES MURRAY (March 8, 2015)
Images from our WWOS Thunder Bay Facebook Page:
Thunder Bay is phenomenal!!!
WWOS Thunder Bay: community working on a community action to address issues like: education, stopping the violence, two-spirit teachings, engaging men, self- responsibility, cultural teachings….this is truly amazing!!
Some great news from our Facebook Page WWOS Thunder Bay making a difference at City Hall:
Thank you to everyone who came out to support! The whole gallery was there specifically to support our deputation. Thanks to special guest and WWOS national collective member Tanya Kappo for dropping in as well!
Awesome job ladies!!!
I am absolutely humbled at the strength and support of WWOS Thunder Bay. Tonight we put forth a deputation to the City of Thunder Bay to include issues related to MMIW in the 4-year strategic plan. It was wonderful to FEEL the gallery full of people who I love and respect and admire all their to support me and the what we believe in. WWOS has and is creating meaningful connections and I am so thankful to be a part of a group of people that are just so damn amazing! AND the cherry on the cake was that Tanya Kappo from the WWOS national collective was in town and was there for support. Shucks, man, humbled as usual! Gotta give a shout out to the councillors who asked great questions, are involved and care about this city and what goes on it! Meegwetch Andrew, Paul, Rebecca, Aldo, Joe, Iain, Lynda, and Shelby. Big thanks to Kezia Picard for presenting with me…so great to have you up there with me!! Gotta say: love the love!
Councillor’s Corner on Thunder Bay Live with councillor Aldo Ruberto promoting walking With Our Sisters Thunder Bay’s upcoming Community Conversation on safety as it relates to violence against women and girls and racism. This event will be held On International Women’s Day Sunday March 8 from 1-4pm at the Lakehead Faculty of Law (old PACI high school). Please join in the discussions and planning toward creating a caring community response and plan that fits your/our needs!
March 2, 2015
For Immediate Release
Community conversation addressing community safety set for International Women’s Day
THUNDER BAY: Walking With Our Sisters Thunder Bay will host a Community Conversation on International Women’s day, Sunday March 8, 2015, from 1-4 pm that will bring community members together to have a conversation on what can be done to move forward on community safety.
“Over the past few months, we have had a number of attempted abductions as well as stories of domestic violence that have occurred in Thunder Bay that have reminded us that we have a long ways to go as a community where violence against women and girls is concerned,” said event organizer Leanna Marshall.
The community conversation is being held in response to directions from community and Walking With Our Sisters committee members who indicated they wanted the awareness and dialogue that began on community safety issues when Walking With Our Sisters held its memorial art exhibit to continue as a way of moving the community as a whole toward healing, relationship building and connectedness.
“Whether you are a community member or you work in the public sector on issues of social justice, we would like you to come be part of this conversation about what we, as a community, can do to create better awareness, dialogue, healing and safety in our community,” Marshall said. “The heart of this conversation will be around embracing solutions and ways forward that make sense to us: the community. Each of us brings strengths and ideas and we want to hear them.”
The event will be held on Sunday March 8, 2015 from 1 – 4 pm at the PACI Patterson Auditorium, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law (Lakehead University, 3rd floor, 401 Red River Road).
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For more information please contact:
Joyce Hunter, media relations, WWOS Thunder Bay
Walking With Our Sisters opened in Thunder Bay on September 19, 2014. Over 200 people attended the four hour opening ceremony. There was a number of media outlets to cover the event. Here are a few:
September 19, 2014
For Immediate Release
Sacred Art Bundle Honoring the Lives of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Opens to Community
Walking with Our Sisters (WWOS), a sacred art bundle comprised of over 1800 moccasin vamps (tops) made by individuals across North America in honor of murdered and missing Indigenous women, has arrived in the community of Thunder Bay and will be available to the public September 19 to October 12, 2014 at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
“A ceremony was held today to mark the opening of the vamps to the people,” said Wanda Baxter, a local Elder who has provides ongoing support to local planners. “The sacred fire was lit earlier this week as we began our preparations. We are entering into a really powerful and sacred space when visiting with the vamps at the Gallery and we have local Elders and helpers to assist visitors through their walk here.”
Local lead organizer Leanna Sigsworth further commented on the significance of the vamps to the community.
“These vamps mark the lives of beautiful women who deserve to be remembered with the utmost respect. This is our opportunity to honor our sisters who have gone missing or have had their lives taken through horrible acts of violence. This serves as an important reminder of our collective responsibility to recognize that this violence has and continues to take place… and our responsibility to support the families in their grief and healing.”
Since 2013, a local group of community members have been working with local Elders, community organizations and members of the national WWOS collective to determine how to bring WWOS to Thunder Bay in a way that respects local Anishinabeg protocols and engages as many people as possible in addressing the ongoing violence Indigenous women experience every day. Community conversations, “bead-ins”, ceremonial teachings, film screenings, and self-defense classes are just some of the activities that have taken place over several months. The local organizing group has received ongoing support and guidance from the national WWOS collective lead, Métis artist, Christi Belcourt.
“The main vision or goal of this project has always been about honoring the lives of Indigenous women who have been murdered or are still missing, “ said Belcourt who was also in Thunder Bay this week to help prepare and open WWOS. “I continue to be overwhelmed by the commitment and courage of people who have come together to support this.”
“We are honored to house the vamps for the time that the bundle will be in Thunder Bay,” said Thunder Bay Art Gallery Executive Director, Sharon Godwin. “We feel fortunate to be part of such a significant cultural and ceremonial process that is open to our community.”
From September 19 to October 12, 2014, WWOS will be open to the public at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Please visit www.tbag.ca for gallery hours.
For more information about WWOS please see the attached backgrounder.
All media inquiries should be directed to Joyce Hunter, Media Relations (WWOS-Thunder Bay) at 807-472-5638.
EXHIBIT ADDRESSING MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN SET TO OPEN AT THUNDER BAY ART GALLERY
ATTENTION: ASSIGNMENT EDITORS
EVENT: WALKING WITH OUR SISTERS PRESS CONFERENCE
DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
TIME: 9:30 AM – welcome, remarks, event information
10:00 AM – Photo and Interview Opportunities.
IMPORTANT: This is a one-time, advance special media access event in in order to allow the media to capture film and photographs. No photographs or footage of the opening ceremony or at any time following the opening ceremony is permitted. Although interviews, live and pre-taped can be scheduled throughout the duration of the exhibit, this will be the one opportunity for media to capture stills or footage of the exhibit itself. All TV and print media who intend to run stories at a later date are encouraged to attend this media event.
LOCATION: THUNDER BAY ART GALLERY, 1080 Keewatin St, Thunder Bay, ON
TAKING PART: Leanna Sigsworth, lead organizer WWOS Thunder Bay, Sharon Godwin, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Bundle Keeper Louise Thomas, Family Members of Murdered/Missing Indigenous Women.
DETAILS: Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS), a Commemorative Art Installation for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to be hosted at Thunder Bay Art Gallery September 19 to October 12, 2014. The art installation is made up of 1,780 pairs of moccasin tops that have been created by 1,372 caring and concerned people to honour and pay respect to the lives and existence of the missing and murdered Indigenous women across North America. Each pair of moccasin tops represents an Indigenous woman who is missing or murdered. They are not forgotten.
CONTACT: Joyce Hunter, media relations, WWOS Thunder Bay
Alastair McKay, marketing & communications, Thunder Bay Art Gallery
Tel: 807- 577-6427
The art installation is made up of 1,780 pairs of moccasin tops that have been created by 1,372 caring and concerned people to honour and pay respect to the lives and existence of the missing and murdered Indigenous women across North America. Each pair of moccasin tops represents an Indigenous woman who is missing or murdered. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, daughters, aunties, cousins, grandmothers, wives, partners, and friends. They have been cared for and they are loved. But they have been taken from us too soon.
Additionally, 108 pairs of children’s vamps were added in Sault Ste. Marie this past May, 2014, to honour and recognize the loss of children who attended residential school who died or were killed while there and never made it back home.
According to the most recent data from the RCMP, more than 1,181 indigenous women or girls have gone missing or have been murdered in the last 30 years. Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of all women in Canada, but represent approximately 25 per cent of all murdered or missing women in Canada today. The numbers of Indigenous women going missing and becoming murdered continue to grow and it’s a sad fact that the RCMP numbers today are already outdated.
The exhibit is currently scheduled to tour to over 31 locations in the next six years across North America.
This project is supported by thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and women across North America, who care deeply about this issue. WWOS does not accept government funding for this project, and no one gets paid for doing any of this work.