Four of the 1

Four of the 1

Commen-Terry: Walking With Our Sisters – A moving experience

Commemorative art installation at the K’omoks Band Hall until Aug. 15.

Terry Farrell

Record staff

When I first entered the Walking With Our Sisters exhibit, my thoughts were on the assignment.

I was there as a photojournalist. My job was to get one or two meaningful shots. I had my mind on the lighting, the composition, the shutter speed and the depth of field.

I had walked approximately 12 feet when I saw the first pair of moccasin tops that were dedicated to a specific person.

Then it struck me: reality. This is not a simple art show. This is a commemorative display. This is history.

Two more steps, two more pairs of dedicated moccasin tops. Two more faces: two more North American females whose lives were cut short. In all, 1,800 pairs of moccasin tops, each pair representing a missing or murdered Canadian or American indigenous woman. As a Caucasian male, I entered the exhibit with full belief that my six degrees of separation would keep emotions at bay. I was wrong.

By the time I reached the first paper bag with the words “for tears” written on the outside of it, I understood why there were boxes of tissues at the entrance – and was dismayed for not having taken advantage of the offering.

The tissues deposited into the bags will be collected throughout the exhibit, to be burned in a cultural cleansing ceremony at the Tsow Tun Le Lum healing centre in Nanoose.

A volunteer walks by.

She is beating a drum rhythmically, singing what must be a spiritual song – some sort of prayer – weeping gently as she looks down. She is walking with her sisters.

Upon my completion of the tour, I found myself looking for the guest book I signed on the way in. Like many guest books, there is a comment space after your name and hometown. I could only think of one thing to say.

When I approached one of the organizers to discuss protocol surrounding the photos I had taken, she asked if I wanted to be “brushed down.”

Another volunteer standing there said “you don’t know what to say do you?”

I didn’t understand the meaning of the brushing down. But I did know what I wanted to say. I wanted to say “I’m sorry.”

Walking With Our Sisters is much more than an art installation. For some it is closure. For some it is recognition. For most, it is about honouring women, girls, even babies, who have been taken from their families far too soon.

Not everyone will get the same sensations I experienced. But it is an exhibit that must be seen; must be experienced. It is part of our history – a shameful part of our history. And when we talk about reconciliation, opening the books on the murdered and missing First Nations women in Canada must be a part of that reconciliation.

The Walking With Our Sisters commemorative art installation for the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada and the USA will be at the K’omoks Band Hall until Aug. 15. It has been touring Canada and the United States for more than two years already and is booked until 2018. The local stop is the only B.C. stop to date, and the only one scheduled for our province.

Admission is by donation.

Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record

 

Just Posted

ROAM Media’s Ian Adams designed the label for the new honey ale. Image supplied
Church St., Ace combine on a true Comox Valley brew

The taphouse has Home Buoy on tap, and it’s also in cans

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

Cumberland has agreed to a sponsorship agreement with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland agrees to sponsorship with Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce

Some on council did express concerns from the past such as amalgamation push

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna, and community engagement manager (Comox Valley) Alli Epp are all geared up for the 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North #BidtoBuild online auction. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North online auction opens soon

Get ready to ‘bid to build.’ The 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read