Walking with Our Sisters


Glenda Jacobs

When Walking with Our Sisters came to Red Deer, Alberta, it was one of those events that happen once in a lifetime; it changed not only me, but also my community.  For nine months, we prepared for the sisters to arrive. For my settler descendant community, it was an art installation at our museum; for the aboriginal community, it was ceremony which brought an opportunity for healing.

Walking with Our Sisters was created to raise awareness and action about murdered and missing Aboriginal women and children. In the installation, each woman and girl is recognized by vamps, which is the beaded top of the moccasins. Each pair is decorated to represent each individual who was found murdered or who is still missing.

Once the gallery was set up, we came in community circles as directed by the Aboriginal community.  I came into the circles with a warrior spirit, fighting for injustice, and I came out of the circles full of compassion, with a love for all life.

After nine months I came to respect our Aboriginal community with a greater love for what the elders taught us and for how the elders modeled respect for everyone who was involved, as we prayed together in unity. It amazed me what happened when ego and the need to be right were left at the front doors, and we walked in with only love and understanding bonding us together. “Encouraging One Another in Love” is this magazine’s motto: what a fitting expression for my experience with Walking with Our Sisters.

At one of our fundraisers, we did a storytelling evening: I was encouraged by the lead elder to read my poetry I had written about the sisters.  It was a huge step for me to read my words in public; however, I accepted the invitation because I knew this woman truly believed in me.  I knew it was the higher good of all, to speak the words that came to me in the middle of the night.  And so I read my poetry, even as I was frightened to do so.

I share this poem with you now as we encourage one another in love and understanding.

Have you heard my voice echoing through the land….
Or have you just seen my body…
Did you by chance look deeply in my eyes..
Have you seen the pain within..
I am branded in society’s ring
Have you felt the dreams, hopes, and plans for better
Here I am alone, missed by others
If you found me..
Would you have heard the reminisce of my heart beat

Or would you just hear, another one found
The wind carries my story
Scattered among the rustling of the trees
Birds flying in the heights are my only witness
Those close to me on my walk, know my story well
They alone understood where I came from
Where I really wanted to be
Where I was when tragedy found me
Here I am opening eyes of many
Many names have I been called
However, Spirit has gifted me with one
Have you heard my song
The gentle breeze speaks my truth
Creation sings my melody




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