#MMIW: Student Reflections Collected on Canvas in 2020

Movement to Address Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (& Girls)

I know that before colonizers came to the New World, women and men were seen as equal in their society. However, after the arrival of the Europeans, the rights and dignity of these women diminished; is this a factor in present day injustice?

How does the romanticizing of Native women, such as Pocahontas, contribute to the epidemic of MMIW?

After doing further research, I found Indigenous women are often stereotypically considered promiscuous, and I don’t understand what women do to be categorized under terms like these. –they are just being objectified.

I was so shocked to hear the curator, Angela Two Stars, say that one out of three Native women will experience sexual assault or violence. I am wondering if most of the women from reservations who are missing are taken by people who live on the reservation or in another community — If the perpetrator lives in another community, are they picking Native women because they think it will be easier to get away with?

I wonder if the reason as to why white men feel the need to rape, assault, and murder indigenous women stems from not only a sense of superiority (makes me think a little bit of White Man’s Burden), but also from a sort of “fetishization” of these women.

This is such a powerful exhibit. I’m still sitting with Christopher Sweet’s piece Nations in Distress and the curator’s quote: “refuse to be unseen,” which is such a succinct and powerful message of the resilience and defiance that the MMIW movement requires. 

Why is the likelihood for an indigenous woman to be assaulted so much higher than it is for other women?

I am curious how federal law and policy for Native American lands allow for impunity for perpetrators. A woman in the video talks about how the federal/statelines are excuses that police use to not create a task force to look for MMIP. How is this the case? How does these rules incentivize serial rapists/killers from attacking indigenous people?

As stated in the video about the Bring Her home exhibit, “1 out of 3 [Native American women] will experience sexual violence.” Given the Oliphant v. Suquamish court case (which states that Native Americans do not have the right to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes on their land), it’s challenging to prosecute Native American women’s attackers. Why are murdered and missing indigenous women so neglected and how can this change?

Just because these women are in an indigenous community, why are they not treated as equal human beings who are searched for? Why is this an issue that is not commonly talked about? I’m embarrassed that I had not known about this issue until reading The Round House and watching these videos. 

Why is it that many of us had no idea that these protests were going on in our home state? Why is it that lawmakers haven’t acted on these protests sooner? 

One of the pieces from the MMIW art exhibit depicts the faces of women and red hands over them, but, as the artist stated, “covered in all the pretty,” referring to the beads, feathers, and flowers in the foreground of the piece.    Is a romanticized and trivialized perception of indigenous culture and experience–that focuses only on “the pretty”–to blame for the plight of murdered and missing indigenous women being ignored? 

The image of the red circles is stuck in my mind.  “She covered it in all the pretty”

How long has this organization been a thing? What sort of things have they accomplished since their start, and what things are they doing to get the things they want to be accomplished, done?

Classes in the US often convey history through the lens of a white male European and rarely tell the raw truth about what happened to the indigenous people who lived here first. Columbus essentially colonized their land, murdered their people, and more, yet millions of people still celebrate “Columbus Day.” Today, there is more (though still not enough) intersectionality and awareness around why this is problematic, but do you think that the same applies to the specific trauma experienced by these women? Why or why not? How might we increase conversation and scope of knowledge surrounding these issues? 


One thought on “#MMIW: Student Reflections Collected on Canvas in 2020

  1. I understand that Indigenous reservations are foreign countries, so they would have different laws than the US, but if I commit a crime in Canada against a Canadian civilian I would still be prosecuted regardless of where I am a citizen. Why is it different on reservation land?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: