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Walking with our sisters: Ottawa Concert and Fundraiser at Carleton University Art Gallery

Hello all, Last night, the Carleton University Art Gallery hosted a concert and fundraiser for the upcoming exhibit “Walking with our sisters”, a commemorative art installation for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada and the USA. Over the last 30 years, in Canada alone, more than 1180 native women of all ages have been reported missing or have been murdered. To draw attention to this major issue, hundreds of people have created and donated more than 1763 pairs of mocassin vamps to create a floor installation where the vamps are shown alongside a winding path. Walking with our sisters poster Each pair of vamps represents one missing or murdered native woman. The unfinished moccasins are meant to represent the unfinished lives of these women. The art installation also contains 108 pairs of children’s vamps, each one representing a child who never returned home from residential schools. The art installation will be coming to the Carleton University Art Gallery from September 26 to October 16, so mark those dates in your calendars. But, for now, here is a photo summary of yesterday’s concert.

Gabrielle Fayant, the evening’s mc, stands behind Juliana Matoush-Snowboy, a James Bay Cree elder from Mistissini, who gave the opening prayer.

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The first singer of the evening was Brock Lewis, from the Ojibwe Nation.

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Then came Kevin Schofield, a cree singer originally from Moose Factory, also known as the Tennessee Cree. He invited his friends, Aurora Jade Finkle, from Ottawa, and David Charette, from the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, to join him.

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Carol Goodman, also known as Eniid, interpreted her song “Lost and Found” she wrote specifically for missing and murdered women. Here is a YouTube video where you can hear “Lost and Found”.

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Carol was followed by my friends Chelsey June and Jaaji Uppik (George Okpik) who form the duo Twin Flames. They performed songs from Nunaga and Finding me, their respective albums both of which were nominated for the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards. Jaaji proudly walked out of the ceremony with the Best Indigenous Language or Francophone CD Award in his hands.

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Here is Chelsey’s soundclound page where you can listen to Blue Bird and Gentle with my heart, two songs from her album that we heard at the fundraiser. As for Jaaji, he interpreted Nunaga,the title song of his winning album, as well as Qatangnguguluk the very first song he wrote, 20 years ago, following the death of a cousin. You can listen to both of them on Jaaji’s soundclound.

Hip-Hop singer-songwriter Cody Coyote followed. Here is the video for his song Warrior which he interpreted among a few others. IMG_0096 IMG_0098

Cody invited his friend David Charette and 12-year-old hoop dancer Theland Kicknosway, from the Cree Nation of Walpole Island in Southern Ontario, to share the stage with him. In 2013, Theland walked 134 km from Ottawa to Kitigan Zibi (Maniwaki) to bring attention to the children of missing and murdered indigenous women.

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The duo Silla, made up of Inuit artists Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq, who demonstrated traditional inuit throat-singing to the amazement of the audience.

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As I had to leave, Larissa Desrosiers, an Anishinaabe singer-songwriter from Ottawa was starting her performance.

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Thank you so much to all organizers and artists for such a memorable evening. There is so much talent out there!

France Rivet

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