Exhibit Symbolizes Extent Of Murdered Or Missing Indigenous Women Across North America

Apr 17, 2019

A traveling exhibit that’s at Lane Community College this week features single-sided earrings.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the unusual collection represents more than 1100 murdered or missing indigenous women.

A table full of single-side earrings represents Canadian Aboriginal and Native American women who've been abducted or murdered. While no solid database has been kept in the U.S., Canadian records say the number of victims is at least 1,181.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

A long table displays earrings made of silver, abalone shell, feathers, or beadwork. All signify a Canadian aboriginal woman who was abducted or murdered, either on or off the reservation.

LCC student Mary Mainenti says the “Sing Our Rivers Red” exhibit has brought an upsetting issue to her attention.

“The United States doesn’t have a database of missing or murdered indigenous people like Canada does, and to see those earrings, and what they represent is really moving.”

Lori Tapahonso, of Dine and Acoma-Pueblo heritage, serves as LCC's Native American Student Program Coordinator. She stands by the "Sing Our Rivers Red" exhibit on campus this week.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Lori Tapahonso is LCC’s Native American Student Program coordinator. She says the prevalence of violence against indigenous women – and lack of a database - illustrate the invisibility of these victims.

“Invisibility means that a lot of our pressing issues go unanswered or are low on the spectrum in terms of priority.”

2015 Women's Memorial March in Vancouver.
Credit Jen Castro / Flickr.com

Tapahonso adds that many members of the transgender community have been victims of violence and abduction as well. 

Exhibit organizers urge people to lobby lawmakers for a federal database, and to support families with missing loved ones.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.