The Women's Memorial March is an annual event on February 14th that honours -in a very public way- the thousands of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people who have died or gone missing. For their family and friends, however, the private grieving lasts far longer than 24 hours. It is a daily reality.
Megaphone's March 2023 issue of Megaphone magazine features Love Letters to Stolen Sisters written by Megaphone vendors and storytellers who experience the daily reality of grief for the Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited friends and family who they've lost.
This is Megaphone vendor, storyteller and photographer Maryann Sundown's letter.
I walk alone today in memory of your life, your hopes and your dreams.
I walk alone to remember your last moments of life.
I walk alone to focus on your fears, your terror of being where you shouldn’t be. Your feelings of regret and shame. Your feelings of being alone and helpless.
Perhaps, feelings of being in a good place, a safe place, a fun place, not thinking of the dangers.
So I walk alone to honour your spirit, to pray for your peace and sweet rest in eternity.
Your people walk to honour your memory, to grieve for your lost presence.
Now, you walk with your loving ancestors, as they welcome you with open arms, loving hearts and acceptance.
I will walk alone soon to meet you in the spirit world and I know our paths will cross, and I look forward to meeting you with a hug.
This year, Maryann Sundown (Cree) walked the march alone. She wanted to be fully present and feel closer to the women who had passed before her, as a diagnosis of terminal cancer has Maryann thinking about her ancestors and preparing for her final journey. Her letter is a meditation on what the women experienced before leaving this Earth, and where Maryann herself is going. Photo of Maryann by Tanya Goehring.
You can read more and view photographs from the 2023 Women's Memorial March in the March 2023 issue of Megaphone magazine.
Purchase from a vendor in Vancouver (www.megaphonemagazine.com/find_vendor) or buy the issue online (www.megaphonemagazine.com/buy_online)