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About the project

Walking With Our Sisters was a community-embedded commemorative ceremony steeped in Indigenous knowledges, and spiritual and ceremonial traditions. When Christi Belcourt initiated WWOS in June 2012, she asked those interested to create and donate 600 moccasin vamps. The unfinished moccasins represented the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls from across Turtle Island whose lives have been cut short by violence. By its conclusion in August 2019, WWOS had collected more than 1800 pairs of vamps, as well as a number of ceremonial items given to WWOS by the many different Indigenous nations it visited. To learn more about WWOS, click here.

This website is a way for us to report on the ongoing development of WWOS, the Digital Collection. In the summer of 2019, the WWOS ceremony concluded, was unbundled, and any unclaimed vamps and ceremonial items went then, or soon after, into a sacred fire. What we are preparing is a small but important record of one portion of the WWOS ceremony: images of what vamps we were invited to photograph and take responsibility for that summer. It is our intent to do this project in the same spirit as WWOS—by honouring and respecting families and their loved ones, and by celebrating the knowledges, communities, and resilience of the Indigenous peoples whose love, pain, and artistry the vamps represent. 

Project Overview

Team Members

Our team at Batoche

Under the leadership of Kiera Ladner, we work out of Mamawipawin, The Centre for Indigenous Governance and Community-Based Research, on Treaty 1 territory at the University of Manitoba. Our project team is majority Indigenous and includes a professional photographer, an archivist, as well as students and faculty members from various departments. Learn more about us here.

Platform

From September 2019 to August 2020, we tested existing archival software platforms, but none of them enabled all the features we needed for this digital collection. In fall 2020, we hired a new IT expert and began designing a platform especially for WWOS-DC. We are excited to have custom software but acknowledge the project is taking longer than expected. Read more about what we’ve been doing here.

Image Processing

An image being processed

After Batoche, the vamps had medicines and dust from the land on them. We dusted and cleaned them as best we could before photographing, but some spots remained. We are going through to remove distracting spots as best we can to ensure that when our customized site is ready, we are able to upload the best quality images possible for the permanent digital collection.