MMIWQT: Abused Indigenous Women – a cry for help

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Author forming a bead…

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Artist Cannupa Hanska Lugar cutting the clay

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The beautiful individual beads… each one unique

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Artist Iren Schio deeply engaged…I happen to love Iren’s expression in this photograph because it reflects the place she goes when she is totally engaged with her art -making.

 

Yesterday my friend Iren Schio and I participated in a collective effort to make clay beads held in the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.

 

Beautiful dark gray clay was cut into squares by the artist Cannupa Hanska Lugar, and the squares were given to each of us to form individual beads to acknowledge and remember each of the 4000 women, girls, Queer, or Trans- people (MMIWQT) either missing or murdered in Canada alone in 2016 (This information was gathered by the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2016).

 

In the artists own words: “we are acknowledging this number and this place that will result in a pixilated portrait. By creating collectively we can move forward and continue to address MMIWQT in all our respective homelands. This community engagement is meant to activate our processing of missing and murdered Indigenous people through the act of doing and feeling in a collective effort to say this is enough.”

 

Each large bead represents one individual, and the prayers for the person that was murdered or missing.

 

This extraordinary project is also occurring elsewhere across the country to raise awareness about the fact that 84 percent of the violence against Indigenous women is sexual or physical in nature, and that Indigenous women are ten times more likely to be murdered than any other ethnic group in this country (for more information on this subject please go to http://www.csvanw.org)

 

Iren and I were both impressed by the warmth and respect of the people who gathered in this room and the feeling of community that we experienced participating in this project.

 

When we left we both felt as if we had done something to become a part of the solution, no matter how small, and that participating mattered. We both experienced joy.

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