While families speak their truths at the mmiwg inquiry in Winnipeg, about 20 students are at a Winnipeg monument that honours missing and murdered Indigenous women using art to tell their stories.
Jamie Black was hired to coordinate the project.
“I’m really hoping that through art they can express themselves and have their voices heard in maybe a non-verbal sort of way or even in chats between each other,” said Black.
The first youth panel took place at the last hearings held in Smithers, B.C. with eight students sharing a music video.
Young people from Winnipeg’s panel will use clothe, stones and other materials to create pieces that the public can engage with.
For Kattie-Lee Fontaine, this isn’t the first time she’s participated in something like this.
Her school hosted events on Oct. 4, Manitoba’s day to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“We hosted a pipe ceremony that was welcome for the community,” Fontaine said. “Family and friends and we followed it with a feast and we also had cutouts for dresses and ties because we included men and boys too.”
Fontaine is originally from Sagkeeng First Nation where her family has lost many women and men.
That includes 15-year-old Tina Fontaine whose body was found in a Winnipeg river in 2014.
“Tina Fontaine was my cousin. Jeanne Fontaine was my cousin..so it really hit me and I like being a part of it,” she said.
Jamie Black said these art panels give youth a safe place to express themselves.
“Provide a space for healing and for reconnecting and for sharing,” he said. “That aren’t intimidating but are really welcoming like the lodge and our here on the land and having that space come together and heal.”
Keagan Shingoose is a two-spirit grade nine student.
She said she’s participating as a way to give back to families.
“Some people in these kinds of situations are just left without answers nothing at all,” she said. “And I want to be one of those people that help them find answers and find what they’ve been looking for.”
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