FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Mural Inaugural Celebration
Saturday, July 19th, 2014
6PM, 2033 St. Laurent
Montreal Mural honours the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women
MONTREAL- An inaugural celebration on Saturday will mark the completion of a mural that honours the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women. The celebration will also serve as a reminder of Canada’s continual encroachment on the rights of indigenous peoples and their lands.
“This mural calls everyone to learn, take action, and share responsibility in this tragedy. It also stands as a reminder that the city, Montreal is built on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land. The violence against indigenous womens’ bodies is deeply connected with the violence of land theft,” says Fanny Aishaa, the main artist involved in the creation of the mural. “Through this collaborative effort, we are making this public space an acknowledgement of the strength, love, and solidarity of family members, organizations, and individuals who work hard everyday to attain justice.” Two other local artists, GUKOand Monk-e helped in the creation of the mural.
Before their funding for research was cut, the Native Women’s Association of Canada had documented the disappearances and murders of roughly 600 Aboriginal women and girls in Canada over the past thirty years, while Indigenous activists estimate the number to be as high as 3000. Many other recent databases and research initiatives have come up with numbers between these two. The majority of official cases remain unsolved. Throughout Canada hundreds of families wait while their loved ones fail to return. Police, the media, and the Canadian government largely ignore their cases.
Aishaa drew her inspiration for the image displayed on the mural from a photograph of Cheryl Kahawinóntie Diabo taken at Montreal’s 2013 Annual Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Native Women. From the Bear clan of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawà:ke, Cheryl describes the status of women in her community: “As a matrilineal society, women are valued and respected. Women carry and pass down our identity and inherent rights through our clans, and are the managers of our family and land. Our women are entitled to justice just as any other being should be.” Aishaa thinks of the mural as a seed that can engender healing. “It is a colourful fire that invites us all to unite our hearts and spirits.
This union can heal us collectively from the legacy of systemic violence. By building new relations, we build strong communities that ensure safety in the lives of this generation of women and the next.”
Guests at the event will include: Mohawk elder John Cree from Kanesatake, Buffalo Hat Singers, Cheryl Diabo, and Nakuset Shapiro of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, as well as musician Timothy
Armstrong and Barbara Diabo, both from Kahnawake.
The mural was commissioned by Missing Justice (Justice for Missing and Murdered Native Women), and is located on the outside wall of L’Insoumise, a bookstore on St. Laurent, located a couple of doors up from the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal. More information can be found at www.missingjustice.ca.