The purpose of the project is to leave a lasting monument/memorial in Yukon that will raise the ongoing issue of MMIWG in Yukon and northern British Columbia and honour the victims and their families. Independent contractors Colleen Geddes and Sarah Stuecker have been hired as Project Coordinators to deliver the project in consultation with LPAC and family members.
As a Local Project Advisory Committee (LPAC) member, YAWC will lead this project over a 3-year period (2019-2021) in collaboration with partners and supporters. They include the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle, Liard Aboriginal Women's Society, Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Teslin Tlingit Council, MMIWG family members, City of Whitehorse, and Yukon Government Women's Directorate. Women and Gender Equality Canada fund the project.
Due to COVID-19, the project work plan has been modified, with family engagement taking place primarily through an information booklet mailout and interviews conducted by the Project Coordinators. This process will inform and guide the artist to create sketches of the monument/memorial that reflect the families' wishes. March 2021, MMIWG family members will select the final monument/memorial to be created by the artist. An unveiling ceremony is expected in Sept 2021.
Family Engagement Process - Completed Fall 2021
Fall 2021 Update
Stage 4 - Private Family Unveiling & Public Commemoration Ceremony Recap & Thank You- Complete
Final Stretch for Planning
Families continued to provide feedback for the monument, helping to ensure it represented all Yukon First Nation Cultures and gave a place of peace for families. The monument was shipped to Edmonton in May to be bronzed. In the meantime, the concrete pedestal was produced and left for curing at the final site, Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse. From then on, coordinators and the committee focused on planning the unveiling event.
Families had requested a private ceremony without media or the public and a host a public commemoration the following day. September 20th and 21st were chosen for the unveiling and commemoration, as they represent culturally significant events in First Nation Culture, such as the Fall Equinox. An early summer COVID outbreak in the Yukon slowed down event planning and confidence in safely holding a large gathering by the fall.
In late July/early August, the planning committee and coordinators were confident the event could be hosted safely for the families and the general public, so the final planning quickly began. As we booked event vendors, Rotary Park was prepped for hosting and installation of the monument. In addition, save the date letters were sent to families and dignitaries. To the surprise of the planning committee, on August 13th, the Canadian Federal Government called an election for September 20th. The entire event planning team, including the local project advisory committee, felt it was appropriate to change the date of the event to allow families to vote in their local riding.
A new date was selected for the private family unveiling of September 16th and September 17th for the public commemoration event. The team sent out date changes and started inviting local, territorial, and national dignitaries. In the meantime, the monument arrived back in the Yukon and was stored at a secure location, so nobody could get a sneak peek.
The event planning team regrouped and started to organize everything for the new date. To help with these last-minute changes and the resulting unavailability of some local services and vendors, the team enlisted the help of a local event planning agency to ensure smooth delivery.
In the meantime, public and media interest grew for the project and the unveiling. As a result, YAWC's communication staff was busy planning interviews and engagements opportunities and ensuring everyone from the general public to the media respected the families' privacy of the private event and had a warm welcome for the public commemoration. The City of Whitehorse allowed temporary closure of the riverside trail to ensure maximum privacy for the families.
September – Installment & Unveiling
On a misty fall morning, the statue was delivered to Rotary Peace Park and installed on her final resting spot at the river bank.
She was covered in a red blanket sewn by Ashley Russell to shield her from curious onlookers. Meanwhile, the event team was busy setting up the various tents and event signage at the park to welcome families coming in from all over Yukon and Northern British Columbia. Around-the-clock security was hired from the moment of installment until after the public event.
Shakat Media captured the moment for the families, and we will be updating families soon on how they can see the photos and video coverage of the event.
September 16th, 2021 – Private Family Unveiling
It was a windy day when families gathered around the monument wrapped in a red blanket for the unveiling. Families were welcomed in a warm tent with tea, fresh bannock, and other hearty snacks in the early afternoon. After welcoming and visiting each other, families joined together and walked to the unveiling site by drummer Shawn Smith and singer Sarah Johnston to the monument for the unveiling ceremony. A sacred fire would remain by the monument for both days and would be looked after by William Carlick and Ron MacIntosh. Ta'an Elder Betsy Jackson led us with an opening prayer, welcoming messages from Chief Doris Bill and Chief Kristina Kane, followed by speeches by family members with a moment of silence as they unveiled the beautiful monument. We wrapped up the event with a private dinner service and speeches. Follow the dinner service together, we prepared families and the park for the public commemoration the following day.
September 17th, 2021 – Public Commemoration Ceremony
With the monument now unveiled, a crisp cold morning dawned again on Rotary Peace Park. We were humbled to see so much support from the public and media. The attendance members of the public alongside local, Territorial and Federal dignitaries and the sharing of songs and prayers at the ceremony.
We thank Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwachan Council for offering their traditional territories for the ceremony and partnership with the City of Whitehorse for allowing the monument to be placed at this significant location right at the river's edge of the Yukon River. Thank you, everyone, for attending and for coming out in support of our MMIWG Families.
For the Families, by the Families
The MMIWG families, local project advisory committee, and the event team would like to thank all the private and business sponsors who made this event possible. The date change made many things more tricky to organize, and many thanks to your generosity, we were able to ensure nothing was missed. As members of our community, you have come together and helped to ensure the event was appropriate to the occasion, that everyone who could attend was able to, well-fed and warm during both days.
What is next?
Please stay tuned for updates on YAWC's website for the next family engagement opportunity or planning project for MMIWG in our communities. Support is still available year-round for family members of MMIWG that are culturally based and compassionate care that addresses information needs on their loved one’s police investigation and support for emotional and spiritual healing. MMIWG family members can also stay connected by joining the private MMIWG family FB page. To join this private group or support, please contact:
Joy O'Brien, MMIWG Outreach Program Coordinator and Senior Advisor
|Salena Siah, MMIWG Outreach Program Assistant
Phone: (867) 667-6162 ext 1003
Toll Free: 1-866-667-6162
Thank you again to everyone for your ongoing support for our families.
The Yukon Local Project Advisory Committee of the Finding Peace Commemoration Project
Early Fall 2021 Update
Stage 4 - Planning of the unveiling - Complete
The Yukon Local Project Advisory Committee of the Finding Peace Commemoration Project for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-spirit plus (MMIWG) Commemoration Project: Finding Peace event dates:
A private MMIWG family gathering will be unveiling the monument on Sept 16th, 2021 at 1:30 pm at the Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse.
MMIWG family gathering and hosting a public ceremony on Sept 17th, 2021, at 11:00 am at the Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse.
Family members who are still looking to arrange travel and accommodations please contact:
For all partnership opportunities and project inquires please contact:
Colleen Geddes, Communications Advisor
Phone: (867) 332-8384.
For all media inquires and interview inquires please contact:
Bianca Ericsson, Communications Advisor
Phone: (867) 444-0329
Spring 2021 Update- Apr/May
Stage 3 of the MMIWG family engagement process - Connecting with and gathering input from families - Complete.
Families have selected their favorite concept for the monument! This phase of the feedback is a crucial moment in this project. There is still an opportunity for families to provide final thoughts on the draft monument before the final building stage. With the help of YAWC staff, the Commemoration Project has received feedback from the following communities:
Carmacks: April 16-17th
Watson Lake: April 23-26th
Ross River: Ongoing
Whitehorse: Ongoing - take the opportunity to visit the coordinators at KDCC on Friday, April 30th, and Saturday, May 1st, from 1-4 pm at the Elders Lounge.
Because this is a project "for the families by the families," the concepts are not available to view publicly. So we're offering family & community members to reach out in one of those ways to provide your feedback. If you missed the community dates and would still like to provide monument feedback, please contact the project coordinator:
Colleen by email email@example.com or by phone at 1-867-332-8384.
Spring 2021 Update - Feb/Mar
Stage 3 of the MMIWG family engagement process - Connecting with and gathering input from families - In Progress.
The Commemoration Project has received inputs from 5 Artists (one provided two concepts) available for families to view and vote. The project coordinators have been doing community visits in Carmacks, Whitehorse, Watson Lake to gather family input. The concepts were also available at the YAWC Outreach & Support Circles https://yawc.ca/services/outreach-prevention-healing/mmiwg-outreach-program)
If a loss of a loved one has directly impacted you as a family or community member, you are eligible to vote on the preliminary concepts the artists have provided. Voting is now available for families on preliminary artists' concepts until March 28th, 2021.
How you can vote:
- In-person at the YAWC office in Whitehorse between Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
- Requesting the digital version of the concepts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and responding by emailing or telephone with your answer back to us.
- Contact Colleen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-867-332-8384.
- Surveys can also be completed at the YAWC office or by the private MMIWG family FB page.
We will also have a video to share with family members who like to participate in this voting process.
Because this is a project "for the families by the families," the concepts are not available to view publicly. So we're offering family & community members to reach out in one of those ways to provide your feedback. Once voting has been completed, there will be more family engagement opportunities once the selected artist is chosen to finalize the concept.
Winter 2020 Update
Stage 2 of the MMIWG family engagement process - Artists Call Out - Complete.
The Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council invites artists who are experienced working within an Indigenous context to submit a proposal to design, build and install a monument for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 2S+ from Yukon and Northern British Columbia. The successful proposal will be selected with input from MMIWG2S+ families.
The project aims to create a monument in Yukon to remember and recognize the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 2S+ (MMIWG2S+) in Yukon and Northern British Columbia. The monument will be in honour of the victims and represent the families that have lost loved ones.
Registration and Questions:
Extended to January 27th at 11:59 PM
January 31, 2021, at 11:59 PM
Extended to March 31st, 2021
Please click here to see the full RFP & Application Process.
Email: email@example.com for any questions you may have.
Fall 2020 Update
Stage 1 of the MMIWG family engagement process - The Gathering - Complete
In early September 2020, the Project Coordinators started the family engagement process. To gather thoughts and ideas from as many family members as possible, a comprehensive information package was mailed out to everyone whom YAWC had contacted. The package contained a booklet with pictures of monuments and installations from around the world and some questions.
The goal of the booklet is to inspire families to think about what a monument/memorial for Yukon’s MMIWG could look like. It concludes by asking families to complete a survey to input their thoughts on the process. The survey can be completed physically and mailed back, completed over the phone with the coordinators, or completed online via SurveyMonkey. Feedback from family members on the booklet has been positive. The Coordinators will continue to follow up with families throughout October to help with the survey.
The booklet provides ideas about what a Yukon monument or memorial could look like and prepares families to answer the questionnaire (at the end of the booklet). Click here to view here.
In addition to the booklet mailout, the Coordinators were invited to attend an MMIWG On the Land Healing Camp at Shakat Tun Wilderness Camp near Haines Junction. Family participants had the chance to meet the Coordinators and familiarize themselves with the engagement process. Around a campfire, we gathered to share stories and fill out some of the questionnaires.
For more family information:
Are you an MMIWG family member from Yukon or Northern BC?
- Would you like to learn more about the engagement process of this project?
- Would you like to connect with one of the project coordinators to give your thoughts and input on the design of the monument/memorial process?
- Be invited to the private MMIWG family FB page?
- Looking to join an outreach healing circle?
If yes, please contact our project coordinator:
Colleen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-867-332-8384.
About the Project Coordinators:
Colleen Geddes is a Teslin Tlingit Citizen, former Jackson Lake healing camp coordinator, and a longtime social and justice worker. She will be reaching out to MMIWG family members to inform and help them through the engagement process, starting with respectfully gathering their ideas and thoughts on a monument/memorial.
Sarah Stuecker is helping organize the information booklet mailouts and consultation sessions and coordinating any gatherings, promotions, and the final unveiling event at the end of the process.