Beacon Project

Annie Mae Pictou Aquash Legacy Mural

The Annie Mae Pictou Aquash Legacy Mural Project is to honour the memory and legacy of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash, a Mi'kmaw mother and internationally accomplished educator and activist from Sipekne’katik First Nation who was murdered in South Dakota in 1975. Her memory and legacy are still held very dear to the Mi'kmaq Nation today. This project is led by Mi’kmaw community leader and activist Rebecca Cope and lead artist Tayla Fern Paul, with the support of Annie Mae’s family.

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This two-story mural is painted on plywood panels and will be installed on a building in the North End of Kjipuktuk (Halifax). Community engagement sessions will be offered as a part of the mural project to share and contextualize Annie Mae’s story, and create a space for dialogue, particularly with youth, about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2-Spirit People (MMIWG2S+) and activism. The Annie Mae Pictou Aquash Legacy Mural Project will be launched as a part of the 2022 Halifax Nocturne: Art at Night festival, within their theme of Legacies by being displayed with up lighting and musical/educational effects.

Annie Mae’s story is about courage, integrity, education and resistance. It is also about a family determined to speak the truth about her murder. This commemoration of Annie Mae here in her homeland is keeping her legacy alive, strong, and provides opportunities to share her story through art in the form of a mural in the downtown/North End area of Kjipuktuk (Halifax).

This is a time of urgency to ensure representation of Mi’kmaq stories in our community of Kjipuktuk – especially North End Halifax with the rate of development leaving a community with fewer recognizable landmarks or signs of its history. Additionally, there are very few depictions of women in public monuments and art in Halifax, and next to no Mi’kmaq represented. This invisibility of Indigenous women in our public art discourse contributes to the challenge and struggle of the Mi’kmaw Nation to be heard and valued in our city. Our project contributes to addressing this inequality and also acknowledges Mi’kmaq women’s inherent matriarchal rights as protectors of the land and water of Mi'kma'ki.

Sharing Annie Mae’s story creates a dialogue about the history of Indigenous activism and patriarchal issues of the 60’s and 70’s, and puts into focus the historical legacy of misogynies that still impacts and silences Indigenous women in their own communities.

The MMIWG2S report Reclaiming Power and Place recommendations ask for municipal leadership in combating disproportionate violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

This project is happening in partnership with Wonder'neath Art Society, and with the support of the North End Business Association.

Oct 15th
6:00 PM - 11:59 PM
Activism Storytelling Mural