Faceless Dolls Project fills Siskinds Gallery

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: JESSICA THOMPSON
On Feb. 15, Elder and Healer Liz Akiwenzie and traditional jingle dress dancers made for an entertaining and informative event. They were in attendance for the Faceless Dolls Project, to help spread awareness of the 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, but also to promote the message of hope and healing.

As 2 p.m. struck all but a few of the chairs set for the event were filled with students and faculty eager for it to begin.


Elder and Healer Liz Akiwenzie took the podium and set the mood for the event, one of hope rather than one of sadness.

Liz Akiwenzie

First, she started the ceremony off with a smudging ceremony, a tradition where an individual burns sage, which gives off a cleansing smoke bath, which is used to purify the body. All that people had to do was stand and wait for their turn.

She then had everyone in the gallery stand as the traditional jingle dress dancers entered the room.

According to Chris Hannah, student success advisor in the First Nations Centre, this is a dance that promotes healing.

After two dances, Akiwenzie dove into her speech, her words of hope resonating deeply with listeners.

“When we dance, we are dancing for all of these women,” Akiwenzie said as she gestured to the walls showcasing the 600 dolls.

Many times throughout her speech, Akiwenzie asked the crowd to look at the dolls, to absorb what they represented.

Faceless Dolls

Fanshawe students and staff created the dolls in an initiative brought to the school by Leah Marshall, the sexual violence prevention advisor, and Hannah.

Leah Marshall

Fanshawe got permission from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) as they started this project to create awareness of the 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada.

“I am really, really happy with the way that things went,” Hannah said after Akiwenzie finished her speech. “I think the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish today was evident in the speakers and in the dancers.”

Faceless Dolls Project