WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg high school is stitching together stories in honour of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.

Students at Dakota Collegiate Institute in the Louis Riel School Division will each create a square with an image on it for a quilt as part of the ‘Stitching and Story’ project. The idea was inspired by artist and educator Victoria McIntosh’s tale of her grandmother creating ‘crumb quilts.’

“Her grandmother would tell stories while quilting,” said teacher Shawna McLeod. “So, this was a time of creation, but also storytelling.”

Students are sewing together their own quilt made up of squares depicting what makes them feel safe.

“I chose animals because they always make me feel safe and loved,” said Maria, a student who is taking part in the project.

McLeod noted McIntosh, who is an Anishinaabe grandmother, is also teaching students the Five R’s of Indigenous Education: respect, relevance, reciprocity, responsibility, and relationship.

Fabric is being collected from staff, students, family members, and individuals who want to support the project.

While the students are being taught how to sew and quilt, they are also learning much more during the process.

“Especially today, now, it’s a common thing for a lot of people not to feel super safe, so doing a project like this helps those kind of people feel safer,” said Jayden, another student involved in the project.

The project began on Wednesday, which was the same day as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.

The final quilt will be unveiled on Oct. 4, 2021, which is the National Day of Action for MMIWG2S