First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 95

SPOTLIGHT On February 24, 2018, I had a chance to make several beads at a session at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Cannupa’s mother, Kathy Whitman-Elk Woman, smudged participants as we entered the room. The event provided a relaxed, communal atmosphere, where participants of diverse backgrounds and ages interacted. With the MMIWQT Bead Project, Luger follows a similar approach established by other art projects in raising awareness of the pressing issue of violence against Native people. In many ways, these large-scale artistic actions tie Indigenous people together across borders as we confront shared issues affecting our communities and also build connections with non-Native peoples. Michif organizer Christi Belcourt’s Walking with Our Sisters, first exhibited in 2013, includes over 1,763 decorated moccasin vamps made by participants in Canada and the United States, as well as several other countries. Sing Our Rivers Red, first exhibited in 2015, displays more than 3,406 unpaired earrings donated by participants in Canada and the United States. The vamps and earrings, like the beads in Luger’s piece, represent missing and murdered Native women. While the number of beads in the installation are specifically drawn from statistics of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Luger further recognizes that colonial gender violence has also targeted queer and transgender Indigenous people. On September 14, 2018, Every One served as a gathering point for individuals to observe a moment of silence for Black transgender women murdered in 2018, in solidarity with #Time4BlackTransWomen. Violence toward women, girls, queer people, transgender people, Indigenous people, and other people of color is endemic to the societies in which we live. Projects such as Every One prompt reflection and conversation about these issues. How can we better keep everyone safe and hold our communities accountable? Every One is on view at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York, through March 17, 2019. CANNUPAHANSKA.COM/MMIWQTBEADPROJECT WINTER 2018/19 | 93