Around 20 people held hands in a circle around the table at the Terrace Art Gallery to bless the medicine bags made in preparation for the Valentine’s Day Memorial March Feb. 14. (Brittany Gervais photo)

The reflective, healing process of making medicine bags

Terrace gathering was in preparation of Valentine’s Day memorial march for the murdered and missing

Around 20 people gathered at the Terrace Art Gallery to make medicine bags in preparation for the city’s second annual Valentine’s Day memorial march to remember the missing and murdered women and girls.

The march on Feb. 14 is recognized across the country to raise awareness and provide prayers for the families whose loved ones are still missing or who have lost their lives to violence. Highway 16, which is commonly referred to as the Highway of Tears, is where more than 20 women over the past four decades have gone missing or were found murdered.

Each person there weaved black string across cut patches of deer hide to make a pouch to carry traditional medicines like cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco. The act of making the bags can be integral to the healing process, each put together with positive intentions and healing thoughts from the bag’s creator.

READ MORE: First annual Valentines Day Memorial Walk to honor missing and murdered Indigenous people held in Terrace

“I’m trying to shift the focus of anger and bitterness to healing, and we thought collectively that a medicine bag workshop would be a great start to the healing journey,” says Stephanie Radek, an outreach worker for the Kermode Friendship Society. Her cousin Tamara Chipman has been missing for 12 years.

“The effects of not just the intergenerational trauma within our community of Terrace here, but the traumas that come when a loved one is ripped away from you. A lot of families, including mine, feel like nothing is being done,” Radek says.

“We don’t ever forget [Tamara]. And I don’t think the community should forget anybody who has been through any of those traumatic events — we don’t need to suffer in silence. It’s important for each and every community member to know that they’re not alone.”

The RCMP estimated that around 1,200 Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada between 1980 to 2012, but Canada’s Minister of Status of Women suggested the number could be as high as 4,000.

This year’s march will start at the RCMP detachment at 11 a.m., where flowers will be laid by the totem poles there. It will then proceed down Lakelse Ave. before ending at the new Kermode Friendship Centre building on Park Ave. for a traditional healing circle with support from grief and loss counsellors.

READ MORE: Terrace youth take action for Highway of Tears memorial

“Making the commitment to show up today is a healing process in itself, not just acknowledging what has happened to a family, but coming and standing beside them in preparation, that’s what’s so important,” says Arlene Roberts, a member of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and wife of Kitsumkalum chief councillor Don Roberts.

“You don’t have to say anything, you don’t have to do anything, just come and be.”


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The medicine bags made of deer hide are filled with traditional medicinal herbs including sage, cedar, tobacco and sweetgrass. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Just Posted

RDKS developing strategy to bring higher internet speeds to remote areas

Results of public survey will help ISPs build business case for funding

UPDATE: Man drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

Donations flow into Mills Memorial Hospital

Community responds to request for equipment, supplies

School district digs in on instruction resumption

Senior official calls the process a “marathon”

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read