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Prairieaction Foundation Award

Prairieaction Certificate

Stardale Women's Group is honoured to receive for the second time the Prairieaction Foundation Youth Leadership Award for The Road: Sharing Stories of Missing and Murdered Women. Due to COVID-19, we were not able to come together formally but our hearts are connected as one.

The 25 girls of the Stardale program in Calgary with its team of female elders, facilitators and workers guided and supported the processes to heal and break the cycles of abuse and violence directed at them and within their community. These adults assisted the girls in being able to create a narrative that is both a cultural mirror and a "two-world view" for the non-Indigenous Calgary and area community.

Through the creation of The Road, a strategized project that relates to the many females who have gone missing on the Yellowhead Highway, or what is known as the "Trail of Tears," the girls were empowered to become leaders in their community and the larger Calgary and area community. Audiences will learn the impact the numerous murdered and missing women has had on the lives of these young Indigenous women through their storytelling. Storytelling is the traditional way of imparting knowledge and wisdom in our Indigenous community.

Ribbon Skirt Cultural Project

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts under the granting of "Creating, Knowing and Sharing for Indigenous Peoples" for supporting Stardale Women's Group Inc. in the Ribbon Skirt Cultural Project.

It was a mighty effort to complete this project while COVID-19 had limited our contact.

When we began this project with the Elders, the helpers and the young girls coming together, it was magnificent to be part of the synergy which was flowing. Listening to the stories and the guidance from our Elders was beneficial for all whom partook in the sewing circles.

The Ribbon Skirt Project was a component of the performance creation stage production of "The Road," which was to launch at the Stardale Gala on May 14. The Gala was cancelled due to COVID-19. Alas, all is not lost, as we will be having all the girls together on the stage in the near future when it's safe to do so.

We humbly thank all the women who assisted in the teaching of the girls how to sew. Several girls made comments as to how relaxing sewing was. It was new beginnings as they learned more on their culture and women's roles in their community.

Ribbon Skirt Project

We Are Our Stories

Blog entry #20 in the development of the Road series for Stardale

Written by Eugene Stickland - July 15, 2020

Hasn't it been an interesting year so far? I use the word "interesting" deliberately, thinking of the old (supposedly, but not) Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times!" Wherever it comes from, it seems appropriate for the year 2020. These are interesting times, and sometimes I wonder whether we are really living or merely surviving.

And yet there have been some developments that may bode well for the future. One of these is surely the advent of the BIPOC movement. From tragic events, including the murders of George Floyd in the US and Chantel Moore in New Brunswick (during a "wellness check" of all things), it feels like a collective and powerful sense of outrage has overflowed like a spring creek gone wild. People are raising their voices and their fists. Old attitudes are being challenged. Racists are being called out, even those who hold positions of power.

BIPOC of course stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. It was heartening to see the inclusion of "Indigenous" in this acronym. You get no argument from me whatsoever that black lives matter. That should never be qualified in any way, shape or form. Yet at the time of those killings which happened only a few days apart, while I was not surprised at the intensity of the rage over the death of George Floyd, I was somewhat dismayed that it so overpowered reactions to the death of Chantel Moore. She was a Canadian, after all. Ah, but an Indigenous Canadian, and a woman at that, and therein lies the problem.

As a nation, we have somehow become inured to violence inflicted upon Indigenous women. Inured even to their violent and often mysterious deaths. The figures are alarming and depressing. For example, murders of Indigenous people in Canada account for over 20% of the total, yet they only account for 5% of the population. It's worse for women than men. Everyone knows it. But it never seems to change.

Will it change now? Does the BIPOC movement have enough momentum and courage to end all kinds a racist activities and attitudes? Or will we be asking these same questions next year, and the year after, and on and on and on?

One way, strategy, if you like, to subvert a race of people is to take away their narrative. Hard to do, you have to be organized and have the resources as well as the diabolical will to do such a thing. But that's exactly what the government of Canada set out to do, with the help of the churches, through the residential school system.

One way to help instill a sense of cultural pride, if not restore the culture itself, is through narrative. We are our stories. One way to end racism is to listen to the stories of all people, whatever their skin color or ethnic origin.

I think that's the reason I get hired by Stardale to work with the girls: I seem to be able to get them to share their stories, their thoughts and their worries, their sense of place in this mad world of ours.

This is what we did this winter. We gathered stories from the girls for a piece titled The Road. We thought the girls would perform this piece back in May but of course, a little pandemic laid those plans to rest.

We are determined that those stories will be told, and that they will be heard. Silence no more. Our girls' voices will be heard. We are transforming our live performance piece into a video which we will eventually be able to share far and wide.

You can look for that in the fall. And that's all from me, for now.

Stay strong, stay safe!

Blog #20

Previous entries can be found in the Eugene's Blog section of the site.

Stardale Pop Up Art in the Park Series for Canada 150

Canada 150

Stardale Women's Group Wins Prairie Action Award for Youth Leadership Innovation Solutions in the Prevention of Violence and Abuse with the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Alberta - Lois Mitchell

Prairie Action Award

photo of girl with mask on Our Videos

The Make Believer Project
The Make Believer Project

Pop Up Art
Stardale Pop Up Art in the Park Series for Canada 150

Charity Gala
STARDALE GALA 2017 at Spolumbo's Calgary

Cook Off
Calgary Co-op and Stardale Girls Cooking Program Pilot

Power of the Arts
The Power of Arts with Michaelle Jean

movie camera Life As You Don't Know It - a comic book by young Aboriginal girls.

Research report by Stardale

Alesha's Dream

Stardale is looking to recruit innovative women in Calgary who are ready to work within the framework of our after-school projects for young Aboriginal girls ages 10-17.

Last updated July 16, 2020

Life As You Don't Know It comic book
Designed by Copian in collaboration with Stardale Women's Group Inc. Foundation