This spring, the city of Thompson, Man., will erect a new monument to spread awareness and honour the victims of gender-based violence in the Indigenous community.
The project is spearheaded by non-profit organization Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and its Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Liaison Unit. According to a report from CBC News, it aims to provide the families of the victims with a place to grieve and remember their loved ones.
The monument’s design was created after gathering stories and ideas from families in northern First Nations communities. Produced by architect and lead designer David Thomas, it depicts an Indigenous woman wearing a jingle dress, who is wrapped in a floral shawl and surrounded by northern wildlife. At night, the shawl will be lit to resemble the northern lights.
“Everything that is in there has significance,” Heidi Spence, director the liaison unit, told CBC News. “Whether … [the idea] was through a dream, through a story, maybe some of the land, some of the animals that are in the north—they’re in there.”
The monument will be placed on a hill near the Miles Hart Bridge, which is a main route leading into the city. Travellers will be able to view it from either side of the road.
Spence told CBC News she hopes the monument will spread awareness of gender-based violence and serve as a constant reminder of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people.
The monument is tentatively scheduled to be completed in March.