Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford at Chapel Gallery has now closed.
January 15 – February 7, 2016
North Battleford, SK
Organizer: Leah Garven
For more information on the exhibit visit our Facebook Page.
A few of our Elders who have supported us with their prayers, love, and wisdom.
These ladies have been there every single day, to love everyone, and to comfort and console those whose heart was hurting.
Left to right (above image): Elders Jenny Spyglass, Evelyn Thomas, Grace Okemow, Gladys Wapass Greyeyes, and Doreen Thomas. Missing – Delia Thunderchild, Bernadette Fineday, and Ethel Stone.
IN THE NEWS
THE BATTLEFORDS NEWS OPTIMIST, January 15, 2016: Walking With Our Sisters memorial opens
“A long-awaited touring memorial for missing and murdered indigenous women has opened at the Chapel Gallery in North Battleford.
The Walking With Our Sisters art installation runs Jan. 15 to Feb. 7.
The travelling exhibition is a memorial to the lives of those women. The display consists of moccasin tops created by over 1,300 artists, with each pair representing an indigenous woman who is missing or murdered.”
Read the full article by John Cairns here.
THE BATTLEFORD NEWS OPTIMIST, December 10, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters exhibition arrives in North Battleford
“The date of an art installation honouring the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada and the United States to be exhibited in North Battleford is drawing near. The Walking With Our Sisters memorial exhibition has arrived at the Chapel Gallery and is being cared for by ceremony until it is installed in time for its Jan. 15 to Feb. 7 showing.”
Read full article by Jayne Foster here.
The role of the keeper of the sacred fire at the Walking With Our Sisters locations is a very important one. Men in the different communities have come out to volunteer their time. Below is an account, from our Facebook Page, of firekeeper Dexter Whiterock who stayed with the fire at North Battleford:
“Grateful for another day on this earth. Had the opportunity to sleep in the teepee near the sacred fire 24 out of the 28 days. Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford. It’s been an amazing experience. Thank you to all the elders that have been there for us. Thank you to all the organizers. Thank you to all the volunteers. Thank you to all the donators. Thank you to everyone who was there to support us in the best way they knew how. Thank you to all the visitors from the community also the ones who travelled many miles just to walk with our sisters. On behalf of the fire keepers. Thank you to the fire spirit. The teachings we gained will forever be with us. Mother Earth thank you for providing us with what we needed too finish this commitment. To the elements thank you for blessing us right from the start (-35 windchill -40). Warmed up with calm days throughout the duration of the fire with heavy winds to today when we took down the teepee (-16 windchill -28). Thank you the animals that we heard or saw throughout the weeks (coyotes/owls/spotted eagle). The spotted eagle was watching over the chapel gallery and the teepee for quite some time. Thank you to the people who have made sure we were well fed. Thank you to all the people who came by to either donate, split or pile wood. Thank you to all the people who came by to visit and share stories and knowledge. Thank you to all the singers who came by the teepee and offered songs for walking with our sisters. Thank you to everyone who had the opportunity to come by and offer tobacco to the fire spirit. Thank you for your prayers. This experience has brought so much healing to the community and the surrounding areas. I’m so grateful for all the people I knew before who came to show support. I’m grateful for all the new friendships I’ve gained. As an Oskapêwîs when help is needed I try my best to help out when I have the time. I do my best not to expect anything out of it. I’m grateful for all the fellow fire keepers that came out to help keep this fire going for the 672 hours. It’s been some emotional times around the fire. To everyone who was involved only you and the creator know how much you sacrificed to make it to the Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford. The ones who have left this world we will meet them again one day. This experience and knowledge that we all have gained will only grow from here as long as we continue to Mow-Mo-We-Chi-took (work together). Once again thank you.”
From our Facebook Page posted by Joni Goldfur:
It takes true warriors to stand up for our Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.
I am very proud of Wes, Dex and Kigee for volunteering their time as fire keepers and following protocol and getting the fire ready and putting up a Tipi. They are helping with the “Walking With Our Sisters” ceremony in North Battleford. Few days ago they didn’t even have a fire committee until my brother Dexter stepped up and said he will organize it and do it because it’s important to have the fire going while this ceremony is on. My brother is awesome!!! These are the kind of warriors we need to help guide and protect our women!!!
The women at Walking With Our Sisters volunteer their time to work on shawls and blankets for the memorial.
Pictured above and below is the Women’s Traditional Ceremonial Shawl. Here is more information about the shawl from our Facebook Page:
It was tradition for Nehiyaw women to wear a ceremonial shawl during ceremonies and especially when grieving. This shawl should not be confused with shawl that are considered regalia or worn during celebrations. The womens’ ceremonial shawl was black and had flowers beaded or embroidered around the edge of the shawl, as well, long fringe, even netted fringe, was attached along all four edges. Once the Nehiyaw adopted Christianity, the women continued to wear the shawls to church as a sign of respect, honour, and devoted spirituality.
This is what Nehiyaw women wore during ceremony, and to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, our Nehiyaw Elders have gifted this shawl to Walking With Our Sisters.
The Shawl was made by Elder Gladys Wapass Greyeyes, Heather Hochbaum, Eleanore Sunchild, and Elder Delia Thunderchild.
Some installation shots from the Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford.
Why the Eagle Feather was Chosen:
The eagle feather is the highest sign of respect given to One in life, as well as in death. It is also a sign of hope, forgiveness, compassion, unity, and love. I thought the feather would be fitting for the centre of Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford memorial exhibit.
For most of the missing and murdered people, they were not given this beautiful gift in life. As a sign of the utmost respect the eagle feather seemed to be the logical choice for all the beautiful loving spirits who have gone ahead and or have not yet been found.
For the eagle and feather to be placed at the centre of the exhibit with the numerous vamps surrounding, I feel in my heart it is our way of showing due respect and love, in hopes that the loved ones find their way home and/or to Creator. Compassion for the families, unity among all people, and forgiveness to occur at some point.
It is my hope that soon there will no longer be any missing and murdered people. That we, as the Human family can overcome our differences and see that we are all equal, that each individual life is valuable.
May our dear loved ones rest in peace.
Lori Nicotine, 2016
From our Facebook Page:
Elders Gladys Wapass Greyeyes and Delia Thunderchild placed hundreds of student art into binders today. As I was leaving, I opened the binder and this was the first one I found. Beautiful and touching. Walking With Our Sisters is teaching.
And more from our Facebook Page:
Send To Me: So true, just how I feel.
– Shared by Deanna Thomas
As I sit in Heaven
and watch you every day
I try to let you know with signs,
I never went away.
I hear you when you’re laughing and watch you
as you sleep, I even place my arms around you
as you sleep, I even place my arms around you
to calm you when you weep.
I see you wish the days away beggin to have me home, so I try to
send you signs so you know you are not alone.
Don’t feel guilty that you have life that was
denied to me.
Heaven is beautiful just you wait and see.
So live your life, laugh again
Enjoy yourself, be free,
Then I know with every breath you take,
you’ll be taking one for me.
On Friday, January 29th Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford held a candlelight vigil for the community of La Loche, Sending prayers and blessings from North Battleford.
From our Facebook Page:
“sing her to light”
praise her in memory, your
mother sister daughter
Cherish her brief time
the way she smelled
when she was new
Call her “angel”
for she has taken flight
left without a trace
Written in response to “Walking With Our Sisters” an art exhibit in memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women. By North Battleford writer Cliff Burns.
Opening Day! Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford welcomes people to the memorial for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
From our Facebook Page:
Amazing how this is bringing communities together now. Community supporting community. .
Firekeeper Dexter from the Saskatoon install. He came in this morning to offer his support in starting a sacred fire for North Battleford. He offered the tipi! The firewood! The volunteers! Even said he has family here to feed them!
Leah Garzan just had to work her magic now and get the red tape done – dot all the i’s…
And its done! ! An amazing young man to come in and do this.
Getting the finishing touches up. Thanks to one of the keepers, Alvin, for making this beautiful dreamcatcher!! A huge thanks also to the North Battleford quilting club for sewing on a sleeve so we can now hang the quilt!
We are grateful to our Incarcerated Brothers in Solidarity at Prince Albert Penitentiary who were moved to create this beautiful Starblanket and donate it to Walking with our Sisters North Battleford. We made $220 on ticket sales and it was won by Marilyn Wapass!
Volunteers make it happen! Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford.
A comment from our Facebook Page:
“The volunteers are integral part of the WWOS experience….they are the “whisperers”….much like the forest birds are to the walker in the woods…..they are the ones who bring the exhibit home to those in attendance….with their presence, their quiet reverence, their stories, their desire to heal wounds and put spirits to rest.
Thank you volunteers! The exhibit speaks because of all of you!”
The installation has begun, Sunday to Wednesday is the installation at the Chapel Art Gallery North Battleford. It’s strenuous work…
Packed house at Allen Sapp Gallery in North Battleford. Grateful for all of those who made it out to find out more and volunteer.
WWOS North Battleford Memorial Walk was protected and led by the men. 55 people turned out to walk in solidarity and remembrance.
Elder Doreen Thomas led us in prayer before the walk.
We had a lovely welcoming ceremony tonight. The Men sang, and Elder Grace spoke to us, and thanked Harvey, for bringing the bundle to us in North Battleford.
Theresa and Patty landed in Saskatoon to meet up with the bundle, and Harvey, in North Battleford today. Our Akwesasne guests will share their experience of hosting Walking With Our Sisters in Akwesasne. They have become instant friends and it will be hard to see them leave on Sunday.
Harvey drove the bundle from Akwesasne in Quebec to North Battleford, Saskatchewan in record time. Tonight, Elder Gladys reflected on how women and men each had their roles, and that it was the man’s role to be the protector. She noted that Harvey took upon the role, and stood as a protector, to bring these angels here to us in North Battleford. She spoke about the important and powerful duty that he fulfilled.
The beaded medallion (pictured below) is our gift to the Mohawk Trucker, Harvey, who drove the exhibit all the way from Akwesasne. It was made by Christina Paskemin.
Joanna D. Wuttunee and Christina Albert volunteering for our WWOS awareness/volunteer sign up at TCU Place!
Elders luncheon, giving us direction, telling us straight! Thank you to our guides.
The Walking With Our Sisters North Battleford Group has recently held some events in preparation for the arrival of the memorial in the New Year. Below are some images from our Facebook Page.