Video

This sisterhood is bridging cultures to inspire healing around missing and murdered Indigenous women

Indigenous dance troupe Butterflies in Spirit and Filipinx collective Kathara have united in solidarity to promote cultural healing.

Indigenous dance troupe Butterflies in Spirit and Filipinx collective Kathara have united in solidarity

Filipinx collective Kathara and Indigenous dance troupe Butterflies in Spirit have united to raise awareness, promote healing and focus our vision on the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women. 4:23

On October 23, Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire's film The Secret Path aired on CBC, opening many eyes to the horrific treatment of Indigenous peoples who went through the residential school system. But Canada's history of brutalizing Indigenous peoples goes far beyond this single story. In one of the most disturbing examples, over 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women have been reported so far — with estimates that the real number could be much higher.

Enter Indigenous dance troupe Butterflies in Spirit and Filipinx collective Kathara. United in their concern for women and their drive to get the stories of MMIW and sexual abuse out in the open, they recently collaborated on a performance in Vancouver meant to inspire healing and focus our attention on these crucial issues. In this video by filmmaker Mangla Bansal, we meet Butterflies in Spirit founder Lorelei Williams and Kathara founder Babette Santos and get to know why their work is so important to them.

At the heart of their shared story is the empowerment of women. Williams and Santos first came together through their desire to take the violence they both lived through growing up and turn it into an opportunity to heal others — but they ended up finding healing themselves through their work.

As Santos puts it: "We don't need to be silent."

CBC's new podcast Who Killed Alberta Williams? finds Connie Walker and Marnie Luke unpacking the story of a 24-year-old Indigenous woman found dead in 1989, along the Highway of Tears. You can listen to it here.

Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.