TAYLOR, B.C. – Walking With Our Sisters, which is an art installation in remembrance of the over 1,100 Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada and the United States over the last 30 years, will be wrapping up its tour across the continent right here in the Peace Region next month.
The installation was created by Métis artist Christi Belcourt and consists of over 1,800 moccasin vamps, with each pair of vamps symbolizing a North American Indigenous woman that has gone missing or been murdered.
The exhibit has travelled across North America since the project began in 2012, and will be set up for public viewing in the B.C. Peace Region in Taylor.
Connie Greyeyes, who has been spearheading the efforts involved in bringing the exhibit to the area, says that originally the installation was going to be set up for viewing in Fort St. John but that the logistical challenges of maintaining a ceremonial fire outside the location meant that the Taylor Community Hall was more suitable.
Greyeyes said that the upcoming tour stop will be the last chance for the public to view the exhibit, after scheduled stops in Prince George and Vancouver were cancelled.
She explained that the organization that helps put the exhibit decided that it was the right time to end the tour.
“The grandmothers on that national collective had decided that it was time. Basically that the ceremony was so strong and it was time to lay the sisters to rest now.”
After the installation tour wraps up, a closing ceremony will be held next year in Batoche, Saskatchewan, which is Belcourt’s hometown.
Greyeyes said that local organizers are looking for volunteers to help lay the vamps down at the Community Hall, and to provide meals for the elders and other volunteers that will be present during the week the exhibit is in town, along with monetary donations.
“It’s quite an undertaking, we have some elders that are part of the national collective who are going to come and be a part of this. The more hands the better.”
She added that for anyone interested in joining the efforts to bring Walking With Our Sisters to the Fort St. John area, organizers meet every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Treaty 8 Tribal Association office in Fort St. John, and are also coordinating via their Facebook group and Facebook page.
Walking With Our Sisters will be on display at the Taylor Community Hall from September 10th – 16th and the opening ceremony at 1:00 p.m. on the 10th. The event is free and open to all members of the public.