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

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

B.C., Alberta clash as Kinder Morgan suspends Trans Mountain work

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley promises “serious economic consequences” for B.C.

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

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.

Whistler to open Canada’s first pod hotel

Pangea Pod Hotel to feature units big enough to fit a queen-sized mattress and not much else

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Pinnacle pellets to feed hungry Japanese biomass industry

Canadian biomass company to sell 70,000 metric tonnes annually to Japan by end of 2019

Thieves target B.C. firefighters helping flood victims

The service has been helping with sandbagging efforts, as rural Oliver battles flooding

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Most Read