Peterborough's STRUTT Central has launched an "Unmask the silence" campaign to raise awareness about the number of Indigenous women who are going missing and being murdered at a much higher rate than other women in Canada—a rate so high it constitutes nothing less than a national human rights crisis.
STRUTT's program was undertaken with young girls from the Cree Nation of Wemindji to spread awareness on this crisis. The impactful photographs below (and above) from the series were taken by Paisley Spence Photography. The campaign was directed by Christina Abbott, who tells us the backstory for how it came together in this photo essay below...
Christina Abbott... "I was working with Mickey Decarlo, a First Nations Woman in our community, and her group of young Cree women. Mickey serves as a mental health worker at the Cree Nation of Wemindji Wellness and Culture Program. She meets with the girls individually every week to discuss issues concerning them over lunch."
Abbott... "Mickey, who lives in Peterborough, brings the girls from Wemindji to Peterborough at least once a year, and arranges fun and meaningful activities for them while they're here in town. Amnesty international states that: 'Indigenous women are going missing and being murdered at a much higher rate than other women in Canada—a rate so high it constitutes nothing less than a national human rights crisis.' As a First Nations woman, Mickey sought to educate the girls on the seriousness of this crisis by challenging them to picture the effects of similar tragedies on their family and/or loved ones."
Abbott... "Together, we decided to make an awareness campaign as so many, including myself, have gone years without knowledge of the extent or severity of the crisis affecting Aboriginal women. By asking the girls to act as models in campaign photos showcasing facts and figures on the crisis, we endeavoured to educate them on the dangers they may face, as well as spreading awareness beyond their community."
Abbott... "The butterfly is the national symbol behind the struggle to combat this crisis; it represents the individual beauty of each woman that is missing. In our images, the butterfly mask being removed symbolizes the unmasking of the cold hard facts that we all need to face together. We want Canadians to see the plight of these women as though they were our sisters."
View more photos in the striking series below...
You can view the entire photo essay here on the campaign. (Hair and Makeup by STRUTT Beauty's Jasher Guiel, Carolyn Abbott, Brandy Aston, Jacqueline Hoss, Christina Abbott. Creative Direction by Christina Abbott. Research facts by Camellia Shaw.)
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