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

You can make a difference in a child’s life

A dozen Mission boys and girls are on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley waitlist

Abbotsford pedestrian/cycling bridge to open next week

Free hot dogs promised for grand opening on Jan. 23

BREAKING: Accused Abbotsford school killer now fit for trial, defence lawyer says

Medication has quieted voices, Gabriel Klein told BC Review Board this morning

MP Ed Fast calls on PM to intervene in drug-smuggling death sentence in China

Fast says Abbotsford native Robert Schellenberg’s sentence is in retaliation for arrest of Meng Wanzhou

Man sentenced to death in China had prior drug convictions in Abbotsford

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, found guilty of smuggling 222 kg of meth

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Most Read