Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Village Displays Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Exhibit

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Red dresses on display in the community building of Village Apartments. Red dresses are commonly used to memorialize murdered and missing Indigenous women. They are generally hung from a tree. PN Photo/Mahala Treish

By: Mahala Treish, Photo Editor

To inform students about advocating against the end of violence on Native women, Village Apartments is holding an exhibit about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Since November was Native American Heritage Month, Housing and Residence Life wanted to highlight this topic to their residents and community on campus.

The exhibit opened on Nov. 21 and stayed on display until Nov. 30. It was located in the Village Apartments Community Building for students and other members of the community to view until 12 a.m. Students could check in by signing the paper at the front of the door with their Banner ID and Bravemail.

On display at the exhibit were two computers that were playing videos and different posters and graphics all over the community computer room. They had an archway of red balloons that ended with dresses that symbolized native culture with white handprints on the middle of them greeted visitors as they walked through the door to the room.

While walking through the computer room, visitors would see facts and stories about MMIW scattered on the walls around the room. Most of the posters showed missing native women around the Lumberton area with descriptions of what they look like and what they were wearing when they were last seen.

On the wall were graphics used to distribute information and statistics about MMIW. One of the graphics stated that “5,712” is the known number of incidents that involve missing and murdered Native American and Alaskan Native women of 2016 sourced from National Institute of Justice and Urban Indian Health Institute.

Another one of the graphics was an illustration of a white woman with a sign that says “SHE IS MISSING” with microphones and reporters all around her. In the background we see a native woman with the same sign getting no attention from anyone. This illustration symbolizes the way the media treats Indigenous women versus white women when asking for help about their loved ones who are missing and murdered.

Luci Hunt, community director of University Village Apartments, helped with her Resident Advisors to create this exhibit.

“This exhibit is only happening in Village Apartments and we picked the topic because it’s not a very well known topic around the country,” Hunt said.

There were tons of red throughout the exhibit from red dresses hanging from the wall to the red balloons as you entered the room.

“In Native American culture red is the only color that can be visible in this world and in the spirit world,” Hunt said.

Zachary Jacobs, senior, president of Native American Student Organization feels the exhibit will help people gain more knowledge on this topic.

“This exhibit will bring more awareness to people who are not from a predominantly native community and to this 500 year epidemic,” Jacobs said.

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