NATIONAL MMIWG INQUIRY

Sharing truth with art at inquiry into missing, murdered Indigenous women

Archivist curating dozens of paintings, poems and other artwork contributed during national inquiry

As survivors and loved ones of victims recount memories of loss, abuse and resilience during the final stretch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls this week in B.C., others are choosing to depict their experiences through contributed artwork.

Petra Turcotte is the senior archivist tasked with curating dozens of paintings, poems, songs and other artwork contributed by Indigenous people during the past year as the inquiry toured through 15 communities across the country.

As the inquiry comes to a close in Richmond this week, Turcotte told Black Press Media that each piece of artwork displays experiences that for many are hard to put into words.

READ MORE: Final leg of national missing women inquiry begins in B.C.

“To tell a stranger your truth is very challenging, and a lot of people can’t do that,” she said. “This offers a way for people to express their truth in a very safe and secure environment, yet be able to share with the nation and with the people… and contribute to that.”

A thousand women and allies have spoken on the racism, violence and discrimination they’ve faced during community hearings across the country, heard by Commissioners who will take these stories and determine recommendations to the federal government in a detailed report in the New Year.

WATCH: Youth group contributes song to inquiry on Highway of Tears

The dozens of pieces collected – some dropped off during community hearings and others mailed to the headquarters in Manitoba – will accompany the testimony from survivors and families of victims who wished to share their truths throughout the inquiry.

“I think Indigenous art in particular has a huge role in how it can translate to culture and traditional knowledge,” Turcotte said, adding it’s often used as a form of resistance and a way of bringing awareness of historical truth.

With the federal government yet to decide if the national inquiry will get an extension, Turcotte said the organizers will soon determine what happens with the contributed pieces.

Turcotte said they’ll be turned into a legacy exhibit of some kind, and hopes the pieces will be used for both outreach and education.

“A lot of youth engage better through education and art,” Turcotte said.

“It helps people become aware of the things going on in their own backyards.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Decision time is coming for Masset schools

School board to decide soon whether to close Tahayghen Elementary School

Mount Moresby Adventure Camp aims to protect trails, ecosystems with expanded tenure

New tenure boundaries would also allow MMAC to rebuild lakeside dock for campers and general public

Signs of the Yakoun’s power

Shifting logs along the Golden Spruce Trail are almost certainly signs of powerful flooding

Court to rule on Husby injunction against protest at Collison Point

A B.C. Supreme Court judge will soon decide whether to grant an… Continue reading

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Province seeks feedback on caribou recovery program

Government has committed $27 million to protect and preserve B.C.’s caribou herds

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out on ‘malign’ behaviour

Cosby jury to decide: Serial rapist or con artist’s mark

Bill Cosby is at the courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Trump: ‘Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada’

U.S. President Donald Trump is offering his condolences to Canadians

Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless,’ says no apparent terror link

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Most Read