They were lined up side by side on a table – each handmade felt doll carefully placed as the glue set on their yarn of hair and colourful dresses, adorned with accessories like beads and flowers. Each doll was crafted with creativity, care and consideration by students, staff and faculty. Each doll without a face.
About 200 dolls were put together on October 3 at the Faceless Dolls Workshop. The initiative was led by International Business student Alkiie-Babe Froman. Her mission: to construct 1,200 faceless doll to honour the memory of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Once she has the targeted number, she plans to send them to Ottawa to be on display at the Native Women Association of Canada headquarters.
It’s an issue that the 25-year-old Welland resident is passionate about. From Six Nations Reserve, Mohawk Turtle Clan, and as a single mother of one son she launched the workshop last year in an effort to do more for aboriginal women, especially those who are forever lost to their family and friends.
She organized the College’s first Faceless Dolls Workshop last year, which was held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. She also brought her efforts into the community by hosting workshops for youth as part of the Many Hands Market held at Ridley College.
In an effort to bring this initiative to the Welland Campus this year, she spearheaded the October 3 workshop, with support from the College’s Indigenous Education staff members. Froman was pleased by the turnout from the college community.
“I was moved to tears. It was very heartwarming to see that people do care about missing and murdered aboriginal women and that people took the time to do this,” she said.
She feels that it is vital for her to continue this important tradition.
“Even though Prime Minister Trudeau and the government have been very supportive of the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, it is still very important to keep the issue before the public so more people can be aware of the impact of these losses throughout the aboriginal communities,” she said.
Those who didn’t get an opportunity to create dolls this time around may get another chance. Froman plans to organize another workshop at the NOTL Campus next term.