Statue honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women unveiled in Saskatoon
'It gives me a lot of hope,' says mother of murdered Indigenous woman
A work of art honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women was unveiled Friday morning outside Saskatoon's police headquarters.
Cree artist Lionel Peyachew's concept was chosen as the design in 2015 after a public vote.
The slightly larger-than-life bronze sculpture depicts a fancy dancer with her shawl becoming the wings of an eagle. She dances on a cloud that will light up at night.
Peyachew was inspired by the story of Amber Redman, who was murdered in 2005. Her mother, Gwenda Yuzicappi, once described her daughter's traditional fancy dancing as reminding her of an eagle in flight.
Yuzicappi attended the ceremony and said she was honoured that her daughter continues to capture hearts.
"I'm here to advocate for the families; I'm here to advocate for my daughter; and I will continue to advocate for the missing and murdered," she said.
"For this statue, this monument, to be set up here in the police station, it gives me a lot of hope that in the future to come there is hope that our [missing and murdered] women, the numbers will decrease."
Peyachew described the work as "an angel, in flight, on a cloud; white wings to represent purity." Icons on the shawl include a tree of life "to represent the longing for life," he said; butterflies to represent freedom; and flowers to represent beauty and femininity.
Peyachew said he is thinking of calling the work Stolen Sisters.
The statue is permanently on display in the plaza area beside the police headquarters' main entrance on 25th Street. Speakers at the ceremony described it as a starting point for vigils, walks and a place of hope.
The project was funded by the Saskatoon Tribal Council, the provincial government and the Saskatoon Police Service.
With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning and Dan Zakreski