‘Faceless Doll Project’ To Build Awareness Of Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls

“The Faceless Dolls Project is an opportunity to visually and physically create a representation of the known cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.” – Celeste Smith, co-founder, Indigenous Solidarity Coalition

An Invite to You from the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock University

Posted September 20th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario – Too many of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls remain nameless and faceless.

The Faceless Dolls Project seeks to raise awareness about the epidemic and ensure that each statistic has a story behind it.

Two panels of faceless dolls in honour of murdered and missing women

Panels of faceless dolls in honour of murdered and missing women

Two workshops for the Faceless Dolls Project will be held at Brock University this week on Monday, Sept. 19 and Thursday, Sept. 22, both at 3 p.m. in Sankey Chambers.

Just a few of the more than a thousand faces of missing Indigenous womenand girls in Canada

Just a few of the more than a thousand faces of missing Indigenous womenand girls in Canada

The sessions are organized and facilitated by Brock’s Indigenous Solidarity Coalition, and the faceless dolls being created will become an exhibit on display at Brock as a reminder of the MMIW issue.

“The Faceless Dolls Project is an opportunity to visually and physically create a representation of the known cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada,” says Indigenous Solidarity Coalition co-founder Celeste Smith. “The history and legacy of these faceless dolls are rich in traditional teachings and Indigenous advocacy.”

Inspired by the teachings of the faceless corn husk dolls of the Oneida peoples, Cree Artist Gloria Larocque began making Aboriginal Angel Dolls in 2005 to bring awareness to the hidden epidemic of the murdered women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“The compassion I had about the issues surrounding the murdered women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside turned into a project of love. I wanted to instill personality and humanity into what has now been recognized as an epidemic in Canada,” says Larocque.

“One teaching of the Oneida corn husk doll is that of vanity. In the case of these women and girls, it is society’s vanity that contributed to making them invisible for so long,” explains Larocque.

In 2012, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), as part of its commitment to encourage dialogue about MMIW, approached Larocque to collaborate on a national faceless dolls project.

missing-women-and-girls

“NWAC wanted a project that could be taken across Canada to help ensure that each statistic told a story,” says Larocque. “I was asked to come up with a design that could be physically re-created to represent the known cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada, but that would also transform with beauty and individuality when designed by Canadians.”

The dolls that were created became a traveling art exhibit in memory of the nearly 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. As word of the project spread, requests to continue making the faceless dolls emerged from the families, community members, teachers and allies of MMIW.

“To contribute to this legacy and create an educational ripple effect is a humbling experience,” says Indigenous Solidarity Coalition co-founder Jodielynn Harrison. “We invite the Brock and Niagara community to attend these workshops to learn more and make a contribution. By doing so, we are giving voice to those who have been silenced.”

The Brock and Niagara community is also invited to the Sisters in Spirit event on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

Sisters in Spirit will include a documentary film screening with panel discussion, a book reading and signing from the newly released Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada and performances by Strong Water Women.

Special guests include: Nick Printup, Film Director; Jennifer Brant, Author; Jessica Riel-Johns, Author; Sherry Emmerson, Author; Alyssa M. General, Artist and Author; and Jackie LaBonte, Healing and Wellness Co-ordinator.

There is free parking for all these events in Brock University’s D-lot.

For more information about the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock University or these upcoming events visit: indigenoussolidaritybrock.wordpress.com or the Facebook pages of the Faceless Dolls Project workshop and the Sisters in Spirit event.

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