Metis advocate raising money for MMIWG memorials


Shawna J Serniak, the founder of Every Woman Empowered, wants to see memorials for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls so she created Project Change.

Her goal is to put up memorials, starting in Edmonton, and expanding from there.

“We want to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women,” she told APTN News. “So we have these monuments that will either go on a roadside, where the murdered or missing was last at and , or at a park, so that those loved ones can go be there and reminisce.”

To raise money, Serniak teamed up with award winning artist Heather Fryer.

She created several original art pieces, using a combination of photography and digital art.

The limited edition prints feature strong Indigenous women.

A piece called Voices of Change is getting the most attention.

advocate
Serniak and Fryer have a moment looking at the strong women represented on the wall. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN

Fryer said it’s her favourite.

“I’m very proud of that one. Three powerful women standing. They look brave – strong,” she said.

One of the characters in the piece is Serniak, who is the founder of Every Woman Empowered. She offers workshops and seminars aimed at Indigenous women.

“We have April Eve Wiberg, who is from Stolen Brothers & Sisters Awareness movement. And then we also have Kathy King, who is from Missing Cara, and she is a mother of a missing and murdered young lady,” said Serniak.

“I originally wanted to work with people that were advocates.”

The works can be purchased at the Old Strathcona Arts Emporium, or online.

Serniak says the project will take money, and time, “But what’s great about this, is that while we are raising the money, we are also creating awareness.”

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.