Bridge: Honouring the Lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People has become an annual installation since 2016 for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence at the University of Waterloo.
Working with the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, Professor Sorouja Moll initiated Bridge in 2016 to create a space for all University community members to learn about the crisis as they reflect upon their responsibilities, write a name on red fabric, and tie it to the bridge between Environment 3 and St. Paul's University College.
While a student in Montreal, Professor Moll set out to put names and stories to stolen Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit people to help lift the silence and make them more than a number. She did the research and wrote each name on a sidewalk in Montreal. When she joined the faculty at UW, she felt it was important to start an initiative on this campus to name and remember the 4000+ missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit people in Canada.
This is an active engagement in learning about the depth of the crisis in the nation while resisting the existing silence that continues to shroud it. As such, this research-creation initiative is a counter memorial and is part of a meaningful sustained collaborative intercultural practice between non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities.
This year’s installation opening was held November 4 with some COVID-19 restrictions in place. Instead of writing the name of a stolen person on each ribbon, participants were asked to read out the names as ribbons were tied to the bridge, between Environment 3 and St. Paul’s University. This installation is part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. The closing ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 25 at 1 p.m.
Reading aloud each name of stolen Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People (top).
Professor Sorouja Moll (left) initiated the bridge installation in 2016.
Songs and drumming were led by Amy Smoke (centre).
Lori Campbell (right) Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, hosted the event.