Prince Albert monument to honour MMIWG
- Brendan Mayer | October 13, 2020
A new monument honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) will be installed on the riverbank in Prince Albert next spring.
The Sisters in Spirit monument, which will depict a mother and child, was designed by artist Lional Peyachew of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who also designed the MMIWG statue outside Saskatoon’s police station.
Organizers made the announcement at a sod-turning event on October 1.
“We’re doing this for those families… missing their loved ones,” said Brian Hardlotte, Grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC).
“This monument will be a place of comfort... It’s important to have it in a place where it’s visible. You can see all the vehicles driving by. When they come across that bridge they will see this site. This will be a sacred spot,” he said.
The PAGC secured federal funding for the monument in response to the 2019 national inquiry into MMIWG, whose final report called the violence upon Indigenous women and girls in Canada a genocide.
Families are calling on PAGC, the Women’s Commission and the police to ensure the files are kept open and active, Hardlotte said.
“When there's a missing person, there is no closure, he said.
Deputy Chief of Police Jason Stonechild agreed.
“We will never close a file if we don’t know what the conclusion is. We owe that to the family and the victim that can’t speak for themselves. It’s important that we do the best job that we can.”
“Our mothers are the foundation of life,” PAGC Vice-Chief Christopher Jobb said. “When you lose a loved one, especially a female, there’s so much life that is lost. That foundation is no longer there. It’s up to the aunties and grandmothers to hold that foundation when we lose a loved one. All the mothers and all the sisters that we have lost, and the grandmothers, that’s a story that needs to be told over and over again.”
PAGC Women’s Commission chair Shirley Henderson said the space, with its surrounding benches, will be used for events like the annual Honouring Our Brothers and Sisters Memorial Walk.
This year’s event was postponed, probably until May of next year, Henderson said.
“We promised each other that we will walk twice as far next year. We look forward to seeing everyone back here in May.