FEBRUARY 5, 2015: Walking With Our Sisters is joining the Moosehide Campaign in their call for a “One-Day National Fast” on February 12th towards ending violence in our communities.
The Moosehide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Men who are standing up against violence towards women and children. Their commitment is to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in their lives and to work together with other men to end violence against women and children.
On Feb. 12th, 2015, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men will meet for the 4th consecutive year in Victoria, BC to stand together to end violence against Aboriginal women and children. The Moose Hide campaign’s Annual Gathering of Men will take place at the Hotel Grand Pacific from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm followed by a Press Conference at 12:30 pm at the BC Legislature. As part of this day of action, they have called on hundreds of men from across Canada to take part in the One Day Fast. The One Day Fast is for men to refrain from eating or drinking from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep. This simple act of sacrifice is to signify our empathy for women who endure violence in their lives and to demonstrate the strength of their commitment to end violence against Aboriginal women and children.
The National Collective for Walking With Our Sisters supports these efforts and is inviting people to undertake a day of prayer and fasting in solidarity, to support the One Day National Fast and the efforts of the men within the Moose Hide Campaign.
Paul Lacerte, Executive Director of the BC Aboriginal Friendship Centre said, “We welcome the support of Walking With Our Sisters in our efforts for the One Day National Fast. Women bear the burden of abuse, and they bear the burden of advocacy to effect change, and this is a men’s problem as much as it is a women’s problem.”
Christi Belcourt, lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters stated, “Good things always come from ceremony and honouring. I’m in total support of what the men in the Moosehide Campaign are doing. My prayers will be lifted on February 12th for an end to violence in our communities, the future for our children, and for the discussions at the National Round Table to have a good outcome.”
In the same spirit and intent, Walking With Our Sisters and the Moosehide Campaign are community driven responses where the responsibility and the lead are being taken by community members in their own solutions and approaches.
Later this month, a National Roundtable will convene in Ottawa with the aim at discussing the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Through this One Day National Fast, it is the hope that prayers will be lifted towards this discussion so all who attend may work together in a good way towards ending of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Participation is entirely optional. If you would like to show your pledge to fast, please do so posting your photo on either Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #Fast4 #Feb12 #endingviolence or #nationalfast – tag @mooshide_bc & @WWOS1
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For more information please contact:
Walking with Our Sisters
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:
Superior Morning with Lisa Laco and Jody Porter, CBC Radio-Canada (Sept. 17, 2014)
Walking With Our Sisters launched the tour on October 2nd, 2013 at the Telus Atrium in Edmonton. The exhibit closed October 13th and is currently open in Regina at the First Nations University Gallery until December 13th. The list of venues can be found under the Exhibit Tour tab on this site.
Below are copies of a few articles that appeared in print. We invite you to view the tabs to the right to hear radio interviews and find links to television or further print media coverage.
The Morning Edition, CBC / Saskatchwan: Interview with TRACEY GEORGE HEESE
by SHEILA COLES, Nov 26, 2013
Daybreak Alberta: Interview with TANYA KAPPO
by NOLA KEELER, Oct 12, 2013 (comes in at about 4 minutes in)
(Source: The Marxist-Leninist Daily)
Author: MARY JOYCE
“Walking With Our Sisters” is an art installation on exhibit at the Telus Building at the University of Alberta from October 4 until October 13. Comprised of 1,700 pairs of vamps, or moccasin tops, created by 1,200 caring and concerned artists, it commemorates the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada and the United States. Its opening coincided with the annual Sisters in Spirit vigils organized for the same purpose on October 4.
The exhibit is a crowd-sourced and crowd-funded project led by Christi Belcourt, a Métis artist from Espanola, Ontario. The Edmonton showing is the first of 25 Canadian bookings running into 2018. Belcourt began the work only a year ago. Idle No More activist Tanya Kappo, “Keeper of the Vamps,” first announced the project at International Women’s Day celebrations in Edmonton last March.
Upon entering the foyer of the commemorative exhibition “Walking With Our Sisters,” the viewer is welcomed, asked to remove their shoes, and invited to take a handful of tobacco whilst beginning the walk through 1,700-plus pairs of vamps. With eyes fixed on the dazzling display, one walks slowly along the red cloth because each small piece of decorated hide or cloth is so exquisite. Displayed in groupings according to the dominant colour, the multitude of images, suggestions, symbolic and direct meanings can be overwhelming. One is struck with the realization that this is an embodiment and memorial for the 600-plus women, who over the last 20 years, have disappeared or have been found murdered, while their killers have never been apprehended. As a simple visual experience the show is powerful, and in its presentation, with the viewer embodying the mourner, with 1,200 artists mindfully preparing the vamps for these disappeared women, the quiet, understated content becomes a massive chorus for justice.
The installation is brilliant. The Telus Building has a section shaped like the prow of a ship, so that the memorial, laid out on cloth, takes beautiful advantage of the vamp-shaped floor. The red cloths make a pathway through hundreds of pairs of vamps laid out on grey cloth. Some vamps are made of tanned moose and deer hides with designs stitched, beaded, embroidered or prepared with quill work, pine-needle weaving, fish-scale art and button-blanket techniques from the Northwest coast. Others designs are stitched into stroud cloth, feathered, painted, furred, some bearing photographs of the eyes of a lost sister, many carrying animal representations or symbols, flowers, birds, texts, some delicate, many ornate and heavy with beading.
At the apex of the walk stand two staffs with white feathers. Families who have lost a sister, a mother, a daughter, a cousin, a grandmother, an auntie, a friend or a lover are invited to tie a feather to one of the staffs to pay their particular respects to them.
The booklet given out with the show refers to the work of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and states: “In Canada, more than 600 Indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in the last 20 years. Many have vanished without a trace… This is a travesty of justice….Only 53 per cent of murder cases involving indigenous women and girls have led to charges being laid, compared to the national ‘clearance rate’ for homicides in Canada, which was last reported as 84 per cent.”
The reality is that aboriginal women in Canada are at least five times more likely to die of violence than non-aboriginal women, the brutal legacy of “colonial justice” in Canada. The racist and sexist government policies, stereotypes of Indigenous women, a lack of media attention, cuts to funding and police negligence all contribute to, and indeed perpetuate this violence.
As this show travels for the next five years, it will significantly contribute to the many initiatives which are going to make it harder and harder for the Harper dictatorship to push this outrage under the rug or justify cutting off funding the Sisters in Spirit project, the first wholehearted attempt to document the numbers of missing and murdered aboriginal women throughout Canada. The United Nations has requested that Canada conduct an inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of Aboriginal girls and women to maintain its human rights record. To date, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not done so, and Canada’s representative at the UN rejected the request outright. This stand must be reversed and the government held to account for its failure to act to protect the safety of aboriginal women.
The power of “Walking With Our Sisters” resides in the use of tender, ancient and family-motivated women’s work together with the most modern methods of crowd sourcing and crowd funding, to seek redress. Like the installation “REDress” of spring 2012, it smashes the silence on the situation and calls for justice for indigenous women and girls and all First Nations peoples in Canada.
For the venue schedule, as well as contact and donation information, see the show’s website at: walkingwithoursisters.ca.
(Photos: Walking with Our Sisters)