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We Will Not be Silenced: Standing for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

EXHIBITION: August 16 - December 9, 2022
RECEPTION: Wednesday, November 2, 2022, from 5-7pm
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Elder woman standing in a red ribbon dress with a red handprint on her face signifying MMIW

Ashley Tyler Evans, Mothering a Movement, 2022, photograph, 45 x 30 inches.

We Will Not be Silenced: Standing for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women August 16 - December 9

On March 3, 2022, a group of Indigenous women gathered at Kituwah Mound, the site of an important Cherokee mother town, to bring awareness to the violence affecting the sisters, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers of Indigenous communities across the continent. Joined by two photographers, Dylan Rose (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and Ashley Evans (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), these Indigenous women posed for portraits, set against the backdrop of the mountains, to advocate for justice. Each woman bore the red handprint of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women(MMIW) movement, a symbol that acknowledges the astonishingly high rate of violence directed at Indigenous women in both the United States and Canada.

Two indigenous women in ribbon dresses standing in a field with a red handprint over their mouths symbolizing the MMIW movement

Dylan Rose, Strong and Resilient, 2022, Kituwah Mound, photograph, 60 x 40 inches.

This exhibition includes a series of photographs and sculptures that bring voice to the international Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement through the lens of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Comanche Nation, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and Métis Nation artists.

Sky Sampson, the Director of the WCU Cherokee Center and organizer of this project explains, “The red handprint upon our faces represents the hand that was once there to silence us. We have removed that hand and are moving forward with our voices. We need people to listen and share the names of these women across the country. We need your help to make a change and to raise awareness. Help us take action today.

Ashley Evans
Dylan Rose
Moe Hernandez
R.A. Johnson
ᏥᏳ Chi Myriah Shipman
Jamie Black

There are over 550 federally recognized tribes in the United States, which make up approximately 5.2 million people. According to the National Institute of Justice, 84% of Indigenous women have experienced violence in their lifetimemore than 1.5 million individuals. These women are often targeted by sex traffickers and other predators, and face murder rates in certain areas that are ten times the national average. The majority of these violent crimes are committed by non-Indigenous perpetrators. Instances of missing and murdered Indigenous women often go unreported and untracked. Although exact totals are still being calculated, the National Crime Information Center reported over 5,000 missing Indigenous women in 2016 and the Sovereign Bodies Institute recorded over 1,870 MMIW in 2019. Too little is being done to ensure that these families receive justice.

If you would like to listen to a local podcast on this subject, check out We Are Resilient: A MMIW True Crime Podcast on your preferred listening platform. The podcast is hosted by local Eastern Band Cherokee Indian women as they work to tell the stories of their Missing & Murdered Indigenous sisters. Visit their website to learn more about the podcast. 

Reception Details
Reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, from 5-7PM. Light refreshments and drinks will be served at BAC's Star Atrium.

Museum Hours
The WCU Fine Art Museum exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. Standard Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM-4PM, and Thursday, 10AM-7PM. If you have any questions, please call (828)227-ARTS.

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