Joan Frame, a band member of Samson Cree Nation and the Truth and Reconciliation coordinator for North York Community House (NYCH), said she was shocked at the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women from her home community when she started a research project for work.
“There’s so many from our area,” said Frame. “These people are just disappearing … it just seems kind of tragic to me.”
Part of Frame’s job at NYCH, based in Toronto, is to educate newcomers to Canada about the country’s history of residential schools.
She is currently working on organizing a red dress ceremony for Feb. 14, and in process, has come across several names of MMIWG2S from Samson Cree Nation and the surrounding area.
A victim of the 60s Scoop, Frame grew up in Winnipeg, away from her culture. While she’s found it hard to reconnect and feel accepted, she said she’s been active in the Samson community for 20 years now.
She wonders why though, so many victims she read about, came from Samson.
Among those names were Billie Johnson and a victim that remained a Jane Doe for 40 years before being identified as Shirley Ann Soosay from Samson Cree Nation.
Soosay’s remains where returned home to her community on May 27, 2022.
Another name that will be presented is Caitlin Potts. Potts has been missing since February, 2016.
Frame said she was “struck” by the number of victims she researched, with at least five being from Samson Cree Nation.
“It was upsetting and disturbing.”
Feb. 14 marks the annual Women’s Memorial March in honour of MMIWG across Canada and the U.S.
As organizers felt hanging red dresses could re-traumatize the spirits and their families, for their service on Feb. 14, NYCH will be hanging red ribbons instead.
“Like you do when you tie a bow on your finger to remember,” said Frame.
The service will be entirely led by newcomer youth. They will also be introducing the moose hide campaign as well.