Walking With Our Sisters at Carleton University Art Gallery presented in partnership with Gallery 101 

Sept 25 – October 16, 2015

Ottawa, ON

Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa has now closed.

Contact:  wwosottawa@gmail.com for further information. Project leads were Heather Wiggs, Gabrielle Fayant, Gabby Richichi-Fried, and Brittany Mathews.

Join our WWOS Ottawa Facebook Page or follow us on twitter @WWOSOttawa 

Image from our Committee Meeting at Gallery 101 on August 31st. 

Miigwetch / Thank you to everyone of our volunteers who came out to give of their time during WWOS at CUAG.

150916_ottawa_volunteer-meetingImage of The Elders, Keepers, and members of the Youth and Two-Spirit committees are meeting at CUAG to discuss the layout of the Walking With Our Sisters bundle in Ottawa.


OTTAWA CITIZEN, December 23, 2015: Capital! Ottawa favourites in visual arts 2015 by Peter Simpson

“Walking with our Sisters, Carleton University Art Gallery, September: Almost 2,000 pairs of vamps — the decorated upper part of a moccasin — were created in memory of missing and murdered indigenous women. The vamps were made by hundreds of people around the world, in response to a call from Métis artist Christi Belcourt, and the communal result was both sad and inspiring.”

Read full article by Peter Simpson here.


CARLETON U’S FASS BLOG, November 2, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters and Other Journeys by Carleton University Art Gallery Director Sandra Dyck

“Over the course of three weeks, beginning on September 25th, Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG), in partnership with Gallery 101, hosted Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS), a commemorative installation honouring the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people of Canada and the United States. The installation’s contents—“the bundle,” as it is called—only left CUAG recently and thus the experience of hosting WWOS is too fresh for me to fully appraise. What I can say, unequivocally, is that CUAG’s presentation of WWOS was the most intense and extraordinary period in the gallery’s history.”

Read the full blog post here


EPOCH TIMES, October 14, 2015: “Walking With Our Sisters” Commemorates Missing, Murdered Aboriginal Women by Pam McLennan

“In 2012, Métis artist Christi Belcourt decided to commemorate the many cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada in a unique way.

Belcourt put out a call on her website asking people to construct moccasin vamps (the upper part of the soft leather shoes) for those indigenous women. She wanted 600 pairs and gave a deadline of one year.

“They started coming in in batches. First 10, then 20, then 80 a day,” says her father, Tony Belcourt.”

Read full article by Pam McLennan here


RABBLE.CA, October 14, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters exhibit commemorates missing and murdered Indigenous women by Brent Patterson 

“As noted on their website, “Walking With Our Sisters is by all accounts a massive commemorative art installation comprised of 1,763+ pairs of moccasin vamps (tops) plus 108 pairs of children’s vamps created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to [the injustice of missing and murdered Indigenous women and residential schools]. …The work exists as a floor installation made up of beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric and includes cedar boughs. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the vamps.”

Read the full article by Brent Patterson here.


THE LEVELLER, October 13, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters at Carleton University Art Gallery by Lauren Scott

“Cedar, a traditional Indigenous healing medicine, lines the walls of the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG). Hundreds of colourful, decorative moccasin uppers, sometimes called “vamps,” are laid around the walls of the gallery. One pair reads, “Some left their dreams behind.” These uppers have not been sewn into moccasins, so as to represent the unfinished lives of murdered or missing Indigenous women commemorated by Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS).”

Read the full article by Lauren Scott here.


CARLETON U’S FASS BLOG, October 9, 2015: The Power of Public Culture by Dr. Ming Tiampo (Carleton Art History Professor)

“It has been an intense and stimulating week for me, one that reminds me of what a privilege it is to be a part of a vibrant university community. Last week, I brought a class of curatorial studies students to see Walking with our Sisters at the Carleton University Art Gallery. These are students who are learning the ins and outs of museum work—in a few words, how to make culture public.”

Read the full blog post here


CARLETON U’S HTA SuperBlog, October 9, 2015: On Our Radar by Professor Peter Coffman

“At the beginning of my first-year survey in architectural history, I claim that architecture, at its very origins, is fundamentally about making space into something meaningful. That transformation has been achieved, with overwhelming power and poignancy, at an exhibition that is up for just a few more days at the Carleton University Art Gallery.”

Read the full blog post here


CBC ONLINE, October 8, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters memorial for murdered and missing indigenous women drawing crowds in Ottawa with Waubgeshig Rice

“A touring art memorial to missing and murdered indigenous women is drawing big crowds to the Carleton University Art Gallery.”

View the news report by Waubgeshig Rice here.


DAILY XTRA, October 7, 2015: Ottawa exhibit want to remember two-spirited people by Isaac Wurman

“Walking With Our Sisters is a traveling art installation that commemorates the lives of more than 1,181 Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered in the past 30 years.

In Ottawa, a committee was created to make sure that two-spirited people were included in the exhibit.”

Read full article here.


CBC OTTAWA MORNING SHOW, September 28, 2015: A prayer to 12-hundred missing and murdered Indigenous women 

Listen to the news report here


OTTAWA CITIZEN, October 2, 2015 : A powerful memorial to missing and murdered aboriginal women by Peter Simpson

“I’m asking myself when I last saw something so deeply moving in a gallery, and the answer may be never.”

View the news report by Peter Simpson here.


TWO SPIRIT JOURNAL, September 28, 2015: Honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People by Harlan Pruden

“This installation is important because not enough is done to acknowledge our missing and murdered Indigenous women especially when it comes to our Two-Spirit and Aboriginal trans* women,” said Sharp Dopler (Cherokee/Sauk and Fox), an organizer and keeper of this exhibit.”

View the full article here.


APTN, September 25, 2015: Travelling murdered, missing Indigenous women memorial arrives in Ottawa with Annette Francis

“A memorial that honours missing or murdered Indigenous women is now on display in the nation’s capital. The project is a travelling exhibit that is meant to pay homage to those women and children and to spark change.”

View the news report by Annette Francis here.


ICI RADIO-CANADA, September 2015: Femmes autochtones disparues ou assassinées

“Les femmes autochtones sont trois fois plus à risque de violence que les autres Canadiennes et surreprésentées parmi les femmes disparues et assassinées au pays. En 2014, on apprend que leur nombre – 1186 en 30 ans – dépasse les estimations précédentes, qui avoisinaient plutôt les 600.”

En savoir plus ici.


CBC NEWS OTTAWA, August 24, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters arrives in Ottawa with Waubgeshig Rice

“Walking With Our Sisters arrives in Ottawa: A touring art memorial to missing and murdered indigenous women has arrived in Ottawa. It’s called Walking With Our Sisters and it opens next month at the Carleton University Art Gallery.”

View the news report by Waubgeshig Rice here.

Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa has now closed at Carleton University Art Gallery. Many volunteers showed up the weekend of October 17 to help with the de-install. Early the following week more volunteers came out to help with the transport of the bundle to the home of our wonderful keepers Barb and Larry. They kept watch over the sisters in their home until such time that the next keeper could receive the bundle for the installation at Akwesasne.




WWOS Ottawa opened Friday, September 26, 2015 with a ceremony and a feast. Approximately 400 people attended. Families of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women were inside Carleton University Art Gallery among the vamps and around 130 more people listened to the ceremony over speakers outside in the overflow tent. While this was happening many students walked by on their way to and from their classes. Many students stopped to ask questions about the event as well as go inside the tent that holds the sacred fire to pay respects to the Sisters.

Many volunteers made the opening day a success as well as supportive space for the families who attended. Miigwetch to all who helped and who attended this moving event!

Below are some beautiful images provided by Melody McKiver of the Walking With Our Sisters memorial at Carleton University Art Gallery.





The final day of the install went smoothly because of all of the efforts of the many people who showed up to work on the final details.  Friday morning more people arrived to help set up for the media preview at 10 am and the Opening Ceremony that ran from 1 pm – 5 pm.






Below are some images from our Facebook Page.






The Walking With Our Sisters Bundle has arrived at Carleton!

Over the last few days preparations have been happening for the arrival of the Sacred Bundle at Carleton University Art Gallery. The teepee for the sacred fire was erected, cedar cut and cleaned, and on Monday volunteers arrived early at Carleton to welcome the Vamps and sing an Honour Song to the spirits of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

Below are some images from our Facebook Page.


The tipi going up to house the Sacred Fire.





Carleton University Art Gallery Director Sandra Dyck receiving a gift of traditional medicines from Sebastien Pilon.



More giizhik / cedar picking in preparation for the beginning of installation on Monday. Miigwetch to Benny Michaud and Brittany Mathews.



The Fire Keepers getting ready to start the sacred fire at the sunrise ceremony this morning.



Grandmother Juliana Matoush-Snowboy saying goodbye to the Walking With Our Sisters bundle as it travels to the Carleton University Art Gallery. We begin preparing the gallery for installation of the bundle today.



Beginning to install for WWOS Ottawa! Preparing the lodge and cedar!




Giizhik / cedar is being laid down on the floor before the carpet is installed for the lodge.




Banner that reads Artists 4 Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa. Artists lettering contains upclose image of beadsBelow are some images from our “ARTIST 4 WALKING WITH OUR SISTERS OTTAWA” art exhibit at Shenkman Arts Centre.

Chi Miigwetch to everyone who came out!


Above images by Shelley Rabinovitch.


Final photos after the closing pipe ceremony of the children’s vamps memorial in partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s closing events in Ottawa.

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Draft layout of the children’s vamps prior to the opening pipe ceremony. No more photos will be taken until after the closing pipe ceremony and the children’s bundle is de-installed.



May 31- June 3 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will be having their final gathering. Our WWOS volunteers have been busy preparing for the one day memorial Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa will be holding on June 1st.

More info on our Facebook Event Page.



Walking With Our Sisters children moccasin’s vamps for the final TRC Event.

WWOS Ottawa is hosting a one-day memorial for survivors on June 1st as part of the final TRC event in Ottawa. The children’s vamps will then join the main WWOS bundle when it arrives in Ottawa in September.


These are the very first child vamps that have arrived from Caroline Ohrn, Naicam, SK.

“The vamps are to honour the boys and girls that did not come home from Lejac School in Fraser Lake BC. Along with the children buried in the graveyard, it is said that bodies were found in the walls and under the foundation of the building when it was demolished.

As a result of her training and abusive experiences at Lejac, my mother never taught myself or my siblings to speak the Tse’kene language nor did she encourage us to learn any cultural practices. She took us berry picking and she taught me to do beadwork. That was the extent of the cultural training she passed on.”


From our Facebook Page:

Photos from a bead-in that was held at the Wa-Say Healing Centre in Winnipeg. Vamps that were made have now been sent to Ottawa. Miigwech to Carmella Fontaine and all staff for making this happen.

“My heart was mixed with emotions. I truly am blessed to have taken part in such an awesome event.” -Carmella Fontaine, Wa-Say Healing Centre


5th Community Conversation

Chi Miigwetch to everyone who came out to our 5th Community Conversation in Wakefield.  250 & 300 people attending the event. Miigwetch, thank you, merci to Scott Duncan for the above image of the event and to all our talented entertainers listed below:

Nancy Myatt –  traditional indigenous singer and drummer
Brian Sanderson – musician extraordinaire of Sheesham and Lotus and Esmerine fame
The Wakefield Drummers
Peace Flame Drumming Circle
Kujlit of Galitcha 
Alise Marlane – Wakefield singer
Anouk-Michelle Grégoire – Wakefield Francophone singer
Twin Flames – Aarjuuk – Americana Folk/Pop/Rock with an Aboriginal Feel by duo Chelsey  June, a Métis Woman, and Jaaji, an Inuk/Mohawk man from Nunavik)

young woman in glasses holding up a piece of birch bark painted with the words WWOS Youth

PAST EVENTS: Youth Committee’s Stencil & Patch Making Workshop

The Youth Committee’s stencil and patch making workshop on April 9th had great turnout! Thanks to Gallery 101 for hosting. Here are some designs/patches that were brilliantly crafted

Person with tin foil pan of paint making a flower stencil on fabric Fabric with painted flower stencils and the letters WWOS 2 pieces of painted fabric with painted letters WWOS Fabric painted with a silhouette of a buffalo and the letters WWOS Fabric with painted letters reading WWOS Ottawa


PAST EVENTS: Community Conversation #4

Here are some of the images from our 4th Community Conversation held at Carleton University, Ottawa.



PAST EVENTS: Indigenous Youth Talent Showcase

The Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa Youth Committee came together to organize a community conversation around how youth are responding to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirits. Everyone enjoyed Indian Tacos, a bake sale, and a youth talent showcase.

Thanks to Melody McKiver for the great images of the night!

See more images on our post INDIGENOUS YOUTH TALENT: Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa showcases young local performers.

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PAST EVENTS: Community Conversation #2

On December 10, 2014 a talented group of community members came to share their performances and teachings at the WWOS coffee house hosted by our friends at Pressed Cafe. It was Ottawa’s first snow storm of the year, and we packed the venue! Chi miigwech to all who came out on this wonderful snowy evening.

View all the beautiful images on our post WWOS OTTAWA: A warm reception despite the cold at the 2nd community conversation.

Images by Melody McKiver.

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PAST EVENTS: Community Conversation #1

Here are some images from our Community Conversation #1. Miigwetch / Thank you to Gallery 101 for providing the amazing space to host this event. We had an incredible turn out of people from the community of Ottawa.

Images by Melody McKiver & Howard Adler.

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