Published April 20, 2016
MT. PLEASANT, MICHIGAN – Over 1,181+ native women and girls in Canada have been reported missing or have been murdered in the last 30 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or murders from the media, the general public, politicians and even law enforcement. This is a travesty of justice.
“Walking With Our Sisters” is by all accounts a massive commemorative art installation comprised of 1,781+ pairs of moccasin vamps (tops) plus 200 pairs of children’s vamps created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice.
The large collaborative art piece will be free and open to the public at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways from April 23 – May 7 (excluding Sundays) from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
The work exists as a floor installation made up of beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric and includes cedar boughs. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the vamps.
The vamps (or “uppers” as they are also called) represent missing and/or murdered Indigenous women. The first call-out for vamps was accomplished through social media in 2012 – generating an overwhelming response from all over the world. The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women whose lives were cut short. The children’s vamps are dedicated to children who never returned home from residential (boarding) schools. Together the installation represents all these women and children; paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners. They have been cared for, they have been loved, they are missing and they are not forgotten.
“Walking With Our Sisters” has been traveling to various communities in Canada since 2013 and is scheduled to continue touring through 2019. The Ziibiwing Center is hosting its only appearance in the United States. The Saginaw Chippewa community has been holding bi-weekly Community Conversations since January 7, 2016 in preparation to honor this ground-breaking memorial and movement. The Grand Opening Ceremony and supporting events will take place on Saturday, April 23 at 10am.
For more information about “Walking With Our Sisters” visitwww.walkingwithoursisters.ca or the Ziibiwing Center’s website (www.sagchip.org/ziibiwing), Walking With Our Sisters – Ziibiwing Facebook page or call the Ziibiwing Center’s main line at (989)
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.