Image: Leilani Muir in her Devon home, 1997
With great sadness, today we said goodbye to our friend Leilani. She passed away in Devon, Alberta on March 14, 2016. Here is the Edmonton Journal obituary.
Leilani inspired all who knew her. Until her last days she worked hard to help others stand up to abuse and bullying. To honour this – and because it was Leilani’s favorite colour – attendees at today’s memorial celebration wore pink. We did our best to send Leilani off, and even played some Elvis, whom she adored. Mostly, we shared in this great loss and remembered her resilience, deep sense of humanity, and accomplishments.
University of Alberta Art Collection staff made a special trip to temporarily install Nick Supina’s beautiful painting of Leilani in the chapel for all to enjoy during the celebration. Nick walked us through the symbolism of his artwork.
Father Jim Holland spoke eloquently to the importance of treating everyone equally. Friends and family shared stories about Leilani. We laughed, we cried. The Honourable Rachel Notley sent this tribute:
We’ve lost a true champion. Leilani’s courage and determination serves as an example to people around the world to stand up for what is right. She leaves us with an incredible legacy as an advocate, trailblazer, and mentor. It is now up to us to keep her story alive as testament to her struggle against mistreatment. We can do this by leading lives filled with dignity and respect for all people.
– Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
Thank you for being you, Leilani.
Your loving friends
Leilani’s story is featured in a series of interviews with survivors of eugenics in Alberta. These stories were recorded by Eugenics Archives, with funding from the Community-University Research Alliance Program of SSHRC and the resources afforded by community and university partnerships.
Watch Leilani’s video interview here.
The Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project launched its website on Friday Oct 24, 2014. The new website features interviews with Leilani and other Alberta eugenics survivors, as well as interactive games and other resources for educators and researchers.
Explore the new website here.
After working on her biography for over 20 years, Leilani Muir has published A Whisper Past: Childless after Eugenic Sterilization in Alberta.
The book was officially launched at the Alberta Gallery of Art on May 24, 2014. The event was hosted by the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada.
You can buy Kindle and paper versions of Leilani’s book on Amazon.
Image credit: Velvet Martin
The film Surviving Eugenics in the 21st Century: Our Stories Told received its world premier at Metro Cinema on October 21, 2013. In attendance were the filmmakers, survivors, and other interviewees. The film was produced as part of the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project. Learn more about the film and watch the trailer here.
To each and every one: enjoy the rest of spring, have a wonderful summer, and keep smiling!
From Leilani and PeggySue (woof woof)
I want to wish everybody around the world a Happy Easter.
PeggySue, Boots and I are doing ok. We had more snow around here that we’ve had in years and I’m glad to see it going!
From your friend, Leilani
Taking a bow after Saturday night’s production of Invisible Child, with actors Linda Grass, Jenny McKillop and Randy Brososky.
Last night I saw Invisible Child: Leilani Muir and the Alberta Eugenics Board, at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. The play was written by Dave Cheoros and directed by Vincent Forcier.
I was flabbergasted. I can’t believe how well they all did, and I am so glad I gave Dave permission to do the play.
When the project first started, I was very nervous. I thought, ‘What did I get myself into?’ Then, when I watched the play yesterday, I knew Dave couldn’t have picked better people to do the job.
I never dreamed this would happen. Thank you, Dave.
Last week Dave Cheoros arranged a photo call for the cast of Invisible Child: Leilani Muir and the Alberta Eugenics Board: —Linda Grass, Jenny McKillop and Randy Brososky—at the old McKay Avenue School.
I enjoyed watching the shoot, and even had a few pictures taken with Jenny. We had such a good time together, we couldn’t stop laughing! Jenny is such a good person and a talented actor. I’ll bet her parents are very proud of her.
MAA & PAA Theatre’s collection of plays is off to the printer, soon to be published by Victoria’s Brindle & Glass Publishing. Her Voice, Her Century is “An original collection of four plays about unsung women from the history of the Canadian west.” I can’t wait to read it.