A commemorative exhibit honouring missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls across Canada and the U.S. will be in the Comox Valley for two weeks this summer.
The Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) Commemorative Art Installation will be displayed from July 31 to Aug. 15 at the K’ómoks Band Hall.
The exhibit features 1,810 pairs of handmade moccasin tops created by more than 1,400 people. The beaded and embellished tops collectively form a collaborative art piece. Symbolically, the unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women and girls.
“We’ve been working on this for a number of years,” said Ramona Johnson, a member of the WWOS K’ómoks committee.
The group has been fundraising to cover numerous costs, including the transport of items for display and the sacred bundle.
In Canada, it is estimated that more than 1,180 First Nations women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered between 1980 and 2012. Many have vanished without a trace. The memorial and accompanying ceremonies acknowledge the grief families are experiencing.
Several community conversations are planned:
•First Nation Storytelling by Cree Elder Phil Umpherville. June 6 from 1–2 p.m. at the K’ómoks Big House. Free for all ages.
•The Blanket Exercise, an interactive workshop that explores the historic relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada. June 22 from 6-9 p.m. at the Lodge Room, Lower Native Sons Hall.
•Cultural Protocol Sharing and volunteer information, July 7 from 6:30–8 p.m. at the K’ómoks Band Hall, 3320 Comox Rd.
•Empowering Our Spirit, Elder teaching by Elder James Quatell. July 4 from 1–2:30 p.m. at the Big House.
•Beyond the Ceremonial Welcome. Elder and youth talks, songs and dancing. July 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sid Williams Theatre. Free to attend. Limited tickets available at the theatre and the I-Hos Gallery.
•Highway of Tears film about missing and murdered women, primarily aboriginal, along a 724-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 in Northern B.C. July 21, North Island College theatre. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Free to attend.
The committee requires volunteers before and after the display. For more information contact Johnson at 250-339-7702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.wwoscomoxvalley.weebly.com. Join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WWOSComoxValley.