Walking Together


Image courtesy Maria Hupfield.

Maria Hupfield  created these mocassin vamps for the Walking With Our Sisters exhibition that has been travelling across Turtle Island since 2013.  Over 1700 participants contributed to this project initiated by Christi Belcourt to honour their stolen mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends, and to raise awareness of Canada’s systemic problem.

In 2016 Hupfield and Toronto teacher Emily Chan collaborated on a project with elementary students entitled Walking and Talking Treaties.  Students worked with local artists from Jumblies Theatre in the classroom at Alpha Alternative to make embroidered felt shoes that honoured their families’ histories, while expressing their understanding of treaties and Canada’s colonial history.  Students walked together along Spadina Avenue to place their creations at the Chinese Railway Workers memorial.  Their work was documented and shared at the local Images festival that year.  Hupfield and Chan modelled an effective method for decolonizing education by using a “relational approach” that supported “place-based solidarities” (Corntassel, 2014).  Jumblies Theatre offers Talking Treaties, a program developed by Ange Loft that maintains their commitment to Indigenous solidarity building in education. 

Historical Thinking Questions

Check out the quote and links below, and answer the following questions: 

“The colonial project has always targeted women first. because they’re the life givers…That’s how you destroy a society and a culture is by taking away their women” (Jesse Wente in Monkman, 2018).

There is a direct connection between violence against the earth and violence against women: looking to the past to restore our future  by Lee Maracle (including Q&A at end)

1.  What does Maracle say about her nation’s traditional relationship with food that gives insight to how we treat the land?  (Historical Significance) 

2.  What happens when your landscape disappears and when you become disconnected from it?   (Historical Significance) 

3.  Where are the highest rates of suicides and violence against women?   (Historical Significance)

4.  What is our collective responsibility according to the traditional teaching shared by Maracle?   (Historical Significance)  

Hate Crime in Thunder Bay

Violence against Indigenous women is woven into Canada’s history

5.  How does the hate crime in Thunder Bay express the historical pattern of colonialism in Canada?  (Historical Significance) 

Why gender is such a critical part of the MMIW inquiry

6.  How is the prevalence of gender based violence against Indigenous women and Two Spirit people in Canadian society the result of colonialism?  (Historical Significance)

Bridget Perrier’s story

7.  How does Bridget’s story convey a systemic problem in Canada that is rooted in Canada’s colonial history?  (Historical Significance) 

Carla Robinson in Today’s Parent

8.  How do Robinson’s past experiences shed light on Canadians’ problematic attitudes toward Indigenous women that are still present today?   (Historical Significance) 

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – Executive Summary of the Final Report


Monkman, L. (Sept 16, 2018). Meet some of the influencers of NativeTwitter#. CBC news.

Snelgrove, C., Dhamoon, R. & Corntassel, J. (2014).  Unsettling settlers colonialism: The discourse and politics of settlers, and solidarity with Indigenous nations. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol.3, No.2, 1-32.