Fusing Song with Images: Native Women’s Association of Canada / Small Town Artillary Launch Poignant and Raw Multi-media Production in Memory of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
June 23, 2020
(Ottawa): It’s a match one could say was made in heaven. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is the national Indigenous organization that enhances, promotes, and fosters the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Small Town Artillery (STA) is a five-member rock band out of Vancouver, B.C., signed to JumpAttack! Records. Casey Koyczan is a Tlicho Dene interdisciplinary artist, actor, writer, filmmaker, and videographer from Yellowknife, NWT. Both STA and Casey are avid supporters of human rights, particularly Indigenous rights.
STA offered the use of its song “Trauma Below” — dedicated “to all the mothers and family members who bear the burden of a missing or murdered daughter or an unresolved case,” says lead vocalist Tom van Deursen — to NWAC. In turn, NWAC approached Casey to create a multi-media production to mark the summer solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday, June 21. A significant marker for Indigenous people and communities across Canada, the summer solstice symbolizes a time of renewal, of rejuvenation, and of growth.
Through virtual reality technology, the low-cost production captures the mountains and woodlands of B.C., as well as locations along the Highway of Tears, using virtual reality technology. The Highway of Tears, a 725-kilometre corridor of Highway 16 between B.C.’s Prince George and Prince Rupert, which has been the location of many murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls beginning in 1970.
STA’s song calls up memories of all the mothers, sisters, and grandmothers who have lost loved ones to violence:
Take her hand now in yours and
just be there
be the mountain, be the chief
I hope you never
of a mother’s grief
how many girls lost
on the highway
how many searchlights
that could not see
still is the water
hiding a secret
justice for Tina
we keep saying her name
“Trauma Below” is rendered even more poignant and raw by the fusing of images from the Highway of Tears with key facts about cultural genocide and violence facing Indigenous women and girls. “Before colonization, assimilation, and discrimination, Indigenous women were revered in their societies,” says NWAC President Lorraine Whitman. “Our women face grotesquely disproportionate rates of murder, violence, and abuse. When we demand that this crisis ends, we are not only asking that our women stop being murdered but we also yearn for a time when we are treated as equal, valued members of society.”
Is this the beginning of renewal for Indigenous women and girls in Canada? Perhaps the words in “Trauma Below” are a harbinger of a new road ahead:
so we’re pushing it
as far as it goes
it took a mother to show us the road
You can view the video at Trauma Below: A video honouring all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Gloria Galloway 613-447-6648, firstname.lastname@example.org