For Immediate Release
On Thursday September 2, 2021, the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre hosted an outdoor event at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre on Main street Smithers to acknowledge the completion of our At the Heart Project MMIWG Mural project.
“Our goal with this outdoor event was to provide an opportunity for the families who helped design this mural in collaboration with our mural artists, to come together with the community to acknowledge the completion of this project, to honour local MMIWG and raise awareness,” says Elmira Sanati Nia, Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre’s Holistic Health Worker.
The mural, which is located at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, is a vibrant and meaningful addition to the downtown. The Mural commemorates the lives and legacies of local MMIWG from Smithers, Witset and the surrounding communities along the Highway of Tears. The project activities were funded by a grant the Dze L k’ant Friendship Centre received from the Department of Women and Gender Equity.
The event was well attended and provided an opportunity for family members who participated to share their experience of the project, their ongoing struggles for justice and their hopes for future generations.
The Friendship Centre staff took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the participating families through speeches and gift giving. All those in attendance enjoyed refreshments and were treated to a powerful performance by Lake Babine Nation Pow Wow Dancer, Kelsey Abraham and his daughter.
Susie Hooper, Board of Director for the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society spoke at the event: “We are here today to unite together to commemorate the Indigenous women and girls who have lost their lives from this community and who are so dearly missed. At this event today, we are able to enjoy this beautiful mural and acknowledge the completion of this important project while also acknowledging that our work is ongoing to make sure that respect, diversity and safety is at the heart of our communities.”
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre wishes to acknowledge that this project was a true collaboration between family members of MMIWG, Raven Tacuara Collective and our entire Friendship Centre team. A special acknowledgement to our Indigenous Trauma Informed facilitator, Sandra Harris and to our team leads Elmira Sanati Nia and Lydia Howard who have dedicated themselves to ensuring the successful completion of this project.
Annette Morgan, Executive Director, Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre