Submitted by: Marsha Depotier, MNO Victim Services Coordinator
MNO citizens who visited the Walking with Our Sisters exhibit at Algoma
University in Sault Ste. Marie.
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) staff in Sault Ste. Marie organized a free bus service to permit MNO citizens to participate in a public tour of the Walking with Our Sisters exhibit at the Shingwauk Auditorium of Algoma University.
As reported in the last edition of the Métis Voyageur, MNO citizen and renowned artist Christi Belcourt has initiated Walking with Our Sisters, a travelling exhibition of beaded moccasin tops (or vamps), with each pair commemorating a missing or murdered Aboriginal woman.
Twenty-seven community members attended the MNO organized tour. The day began in “a good way” with Senator Brenda Powley offering the opening prayer. The group’s first stop was to the arbor and sacred fire, which was a time to give thanks and to acknowledge their Métis ancestors. The group then toured the Walking with Our Sisters exhibit and took time to reflect on the many missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.
Marsha Depotier, (far left) and Senator Brenda Powley (far right) present local
Walking with Our Sisters exhibit organizers with a Métis healing blanket.
The newest installment of the exhibit includes baby moccasin tops, which represent the lost children of the residential school system. Within the exhibit, the children’s spirits were protected by the many women’s moccasins which were at the centre of the exhibit.
After the tour, a feast was provided and a spirit dish was offered to feast with the ancestors. The day ended with a sharing circle and a tea and talk time, facilitated by MNO Victim Services Coordinator Marsha Depotier, which gave the space and time needed for community members to share their stories.
The tour participants would like to thank Christi Belcourt for sharing her vision and also acknowledge the many volunteers and event organizers for their help in the Walking with our Sisters exhibit. Depotier and Senator Powley gifted the event organizers with a Métis healing blanket as a way of showing appreciation for hosting such a moving exhibit.