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Indigenous man holds haircutting ceremony in honour of MMIWG

Click to play video: 'Ceremony marks Sisters in Spirit Day in Nova Scotia'
Ceremony marks Sisters in Spirit Day in Nova Scotia
WATCH: Today marks Sisters in Spirit Day – a national day of action dedicated to addressing the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. In honour of the day, Global News’ Megan King was granted the opportunity to showcase a deeply personal and moving haircutting ceremony that honours the memory of lost loved ones – Oct 4, 2023

The National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) was honoured at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre Wednesday with a haircutting ceremony.

In a display of mourning and to remember loved ones lost, David Ladouceur took a very personal and sacred step in his fight for change.

“I’ve been retrospective for the last week,” said Ladouceur. “The closer [the ceremony] got, the more important the weight on it and the message that it sends out.”
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The haircutting of a warrior is often a private affair that many have never witnessed — even those within the community.

An extension of oneself, hair is ones spirt, personality and strength.

“Our hair is our very personal thing that only we touch unless someone asks us,” said community elder Geri Musqua-LeBlanc.

Ladouceur, an Anishinaabe Ojibway man, asked Musqua-LeBlanc to be the one to cut his hair during the ceremony.

David Ladouceur (front) gets his hair cut by community elder Geri Musqua-LeBlanc (back) in a deeply personal ceremony honouring MMIWG. Megan King / Global News

“I was very honoured by the Warrior Who Walks Softly on the Earth (Ladouceur) asking me to come and cut his hair so that he can honour the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

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With hair brushed and braided, then comes the use of scissors to cut his lengthy locks — a powerful moment for all in attendance.

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Both Ladouceur and Musqua-LeBlanc were among the many in the room with tears in their eyes.

“Part of me gaining my self back was the growth of my hair,” said Ladouceur. “The strength of regaining self.”

With the weight of the moment felt by all in attendance, the beat of a hand drum playing the Honour Song filled the space.

“It’s not done for rewards, it’s not done for accolades, it’s done because it has to be done,” Ladouceur said about the moment.

Tired of attending vigils and rallies far too often, he says this is the strongest statement that he could make in support — and he wishes more men would follow suit.

“The lack of a male presence is disheartening,” he said. “I mean, you know, we profess to be caretakers, right? Providers for families, and we’re not there when this happens.”

A haircutting ceremony takes place at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre to honour MMIWG and fight for change. Megan King / Global News

Honouring the matriarchs of his life and the strong women who have helped shape who he is, this is a call for change.

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“I wish that someone would find the missing and murdered people,” said Musqua-LeBlanc. “Settle their families. Settle the mothers and the grandmothers and the aunties and the uncles. Let them know where their girls are, let them know where the women are.”

Ladouceur says there has to be a fundamental shift.

“There has to be a change in how we see First Nations women,” he demands. “There has to be a change in systems that deal with our women.”

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