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East York people, places, events & insights

Art exhibit on missing & murdered women in EY Oct. 15-29

Walking With Our Sisters

A commemorative art exhibit and ceremony honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people and their families is coming to East York Oct. 15-29.

“Walking With Our Sisters” is being hosted at the Toronto District School Board‘s Aboriginal Education Centre at 16 Phin Ave. near Donlands and Danforth and is open to the public noon-6 on Sundays and Saturdays and 4:30-8:30 Monday – Thursday.

Entrance to the exhibit is through the parking lot on the north side of the school building. Attendance is free.

“Walking With Our Sisters” is a community-based art commemoration, which is travelling across Canada and the US for seven years to show reverence for Indigenous women and children who are no longer with us.

The exhibit presents more than 1,800 pairs of moccasin tops (vamps) created by caring and concerned people to honour and pay respect to the lives of the Indigenous sisters who are no longer with us.  The moccasins are unfinished, symbolizing the unfinished lives of, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives, and partners whose lives were tragically cut short over the last thirty years.  Many have vanished without a trace, and their cases have often been inadequately investigated, neglected, or ignored.

The vamps are arranged on the floor in a winding formation and visitors remove their shoes to walk alongside them on a pathway of cloth, to show solidarity and respect.  108 pairs of children’s vamps were added in Sault Ste Marie in 2014 to honour and acknowledge the children who died while attending residential school, never returning home to their families.

According to the RCMP, more than 1,180 Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people have gone missing or been murdered over the last 30 years.  Indigenous women make up 4% of women in Canada, but represent approximately 25% of all murdered or missing women in Canada today.  This violence against Indigenous women continues, and sadly, the current RCMP statistics are already outdated.

Organized by local Elders and volunteers and guided by the Walking With Our Sisters National Collective, this community-based memorial creates space for ceremony and healing.  Those who are gone are cared for, they are loved, and they are not forgotten.

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