Unspoken Words

Decorative/Traditional arts by Mikhayla Patterson – in collaboration with the second year students of the Social Work Program at MacEwan University

Mikhayla Patterson writes, "this donation represents the memory and the legacy of each and every one of the women and girls whose names are written on this banner. When we tasked the second year Social Work Diploma students with this, we instructed them to really think about the picture and name that they had been given. We encouraged them to think about the fact that these people had families and friends who loved and still love them dearly. They had lives. They are real people. I truly think that having the picture in front of them and making the students look into the faces of these people made it real to them. To me, everyone should see that. This is real. This is a problem and it is a problem that has been going on for a long time now. This creation is very personal to each student that wrote those letters. It made a connection between the student and the individual they were writing a letter to. No one but the student who wrote it saw the letter and no one will read it after. The idea is that once it is smudged, the letters will go to the spirit world where these women and girls can read them and know that they are loved and cherished and that their memory will be honoured. Each and every life that has been lost or that has disappeared is one too many. Each decorative piece represents the beauty and spirit of each person whose name is on the felt. Each red envelope represents a life that is lost or missing. I believe that the message that this piece displays is one of great significance. To the families and friends that have lost loved ones, we are with you and you are not alone. The students who created this piece and myself recognize the severity of this ignorance and we stand alongside you. We did not personally know the people whose names are written on this banner, but what we do know is that each and every one of these people were loved and each and every one of these people have families who are fighting so incredibly hard for justice. We hope that this piece demonstrates that you are not fighting alone, not anymore. Lilla Watson once said, 'If you are here to help me you are wasting your time, but if your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.' This is a reminder that our liberation is bound with those of the families and friends who have lost loved ones. Let us work together in the fight for justice."