(Ottawa, ON) – On June 19, 2019, during an honouring ceremony, the Global Affairs Canada’s Champion for Aboriginal Peoples and the department’s Aboriginal Network proudly unveiled the Faceless Dolls Sister Panels permanent exhibit, in partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). This exhibit intended to honour and recognize the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
The Faceless Dolls Sister Panels initiative represents the commitment of federal government employees to educate their fellow public servants on the history of Indigenous people, as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #57.
“Global Affairs Canada’s [GAC] Aboriginal Network is proud to celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis during Indigenous Awareness Week. Today’s unveiling of the Faceless Dolls Sister Panels permanent exhibit offers GAC employees an opportunity to support healing, create awareness, and is one more step along the path toward advancing reconciliation,” says Dominique Bélanger, GAC’s Champion for Aboriginal Peoples.
The Faceless Dolls project was launched by NWAC, following the organization’s involvement in documenting the 583 then-known cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (That number has since climbed to 1,181.) The project, which consisted of visual and physical representations of the Indigenous women and girls who had gone missing or were murdered, became a traveling art exhibit in their memory.
During the 2016 Aboriginal Awareness Week, a single Faceless Dolls panel was displayed at Global Affairs Canada. This inspired the department’s Aboriginal Network and Women’s Network to co-host a Faceless Dolls workshop. As of 2018, some 178 dolls have been created and displayed on three panels, which Global Affairs Canada has named Sister Panels.
“This permanent exhibit is a fitting tribute to honour the many Indigenous missing and murdered women and girls and a poignant way to ensure that so many women are not forgotten,” said Lynne Groulx, CEO for NWAC. “It is time now to move on to Phase 2 of our Faceless Dolls Project by putting a face on justice and to acknowledge that the important voices of our women and their families have been heard.”