I sit here eating a hot bowl of hamburger soup for breakfast, nursing a cold that after days, seems to hang in. The soup is comforting and healing.
There are no photographs on this particular post, but a link, here, for everything you might want to find out. Calgary’s Walk With Our Sisters memorial installation has been two years in the works (maybe more) and has traveled Canada. It has just a few more visits and will be retired to Batoche. This stop in Calgary is an amazing opportunity for us to connect with the journey…to think about our sisters who are missing and murdered and to think of their families and friends. It is important for us to honour their lives and their life force because these sisters remain with us, as long as we remember.
As you will see, there are opportunities for volunteers throughout the coming weeks. All are welcome. Orientations are offered, but it was made clear yesterday, at my own orientation, no volunteer will be turned away.
As most of you know, at the onset of Canada’s 150, I decided that I wanted to embark on a journey of gathering knowledge and understanding about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. I didn’t know how to begin. Sable Sweetgrass hosted an online book club and this peeked my interest, so I began to read along and reflect on the authors and books that we were reading. It was Sable who told me about the book club at Forest Lawn Public Library, hosted by Indigenous Pride with 12CSI and 12CSI Community Safety Initiative.
I attended my first monthly gathering at the library some time after that, intending to read a book a month, for a year, with a focus on Indigenous authors. After bonding with this group and having my mind and awareness open up, I decided that I wanted to continue with the group and to enter into my own personal journey with Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 calls to action. Michelle Robinson has been key in my life as an agent of change and her embrace is assisting me in becoming fearless in this journey. I can not judge what other Canadians do with the knowledge of Residential Schools or with the initial shock of colonial movement across our nation. I am responsible, first, to grow in knowledge and then to go forward to be a strong advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters.
I was invited to volunteer with Walk With Our Sisters and this has also expanded my knowledge. As a result, I am inviting all of my readers to participate at some level during the weeks ahead.
Last week, a lovely group of women gathered to tie tobacco and I grew new friendships and new knowledge. I really love the fact that working with our hands created such a warm community feeling. My mother would have loved it.
Yesterday, I attended an orientation and was blessed by Autumn EagleSpeaker’s clear and welcoming approach. Autumn is a strong woman who is a source of inspiration for these coming days. It was evident how she has inspired so many others on this journey. I am grateful for our meeting. I was further blessed to meet Christi Belcourt, artist and visionary where this memorial is concerned. We were given an extended opportunity to preview the work that has been done to this point and to be given more information about the ceremony and protocol involved.
I loved being given the story of the shape of the Calgary installation, with consideration for the two rivers, the elbow, the native plants and medicines and the dress. The configuration of the vamps has been very specific to each city’s Indigenous peoples along the way, while the vamps themselves represent and include a wide variety of peoples, even expanding beyond international borders.
I am really looking forward to my shift later on today, the final installation shift prior to the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow afternoon, at 2. I hope my readers will attend. I hope that you will even extend this to volunteering a few hours, if it is possible.
Just ending this post with a lovely video of Christi describing the world of plants represented in a large painting in acrylic. Amazing stuff!