The National Crime Information Center revealed that there were, as of 2016, 5.712 reports of Missing & Murdered American Indian and Alaskan Native women and girls. This makes Indigenous women & girls 11 times more likely to be victims of violence than most other demographics across the US. Canada's numbers are comparable. Indigenous men are 4 times more likely.
Murder is the third leading cause of death for indigenous people just after cancer and heart disease. This can be compared to the over all national leading causes of death where for the average non indigenous American Murder does not even make it into the top 12 leading causes of death.
The majority of perpetrators of these crimes are non-indigenous and this is happening both on and off the reservations and all over Turtle Island (North America). The US and Canadian Government have done very little so far to address these issues and most of the cases go unsolved and often uninvestigated to this day. This crisis does not only affect enrolled indigenous people or those living on reservations and in remote areas. The families coming to me are from all over Turtle Island and encompass all different Indigenous backgrounds and locations. This is a result of a lot of complicated issues which affect us all, from inter generational trauma, male dominated extractive industries, human trafficking, domestic violence and more. There is not one easy answer or solution for this. It is a complex issue that has its roots in the legal language set forth by the US and Canadian Governments and is echoed in policies which are continued to this day.
Charities to donate to -
(If you have a charity you think should be added to this list please message me with the link and I will check them out and add them to the list)
Due to personal medical issues I will be winding down on production of paintings for this project for the time being.
The work will however continue to be exhibited.
This project is a not-for-personal profit project. I have done this completely for free and will continue to do so. Why do I do this for free? Because this kind of work is medicine and should be treated as such. Profiting from those who are missing or lost is disrespectful and dishonorable and I strongly believe no one should do so.
This project began on May 5, 2020 and was never intended to be a project at all. I produced one painting in support of the crisis (Lauraina in RED) and the response was so overwhelming that I painted another. (Natahne & Yana). The response to the second painting was even more then the first and so at that time I opened my email and messenger to anyone wanting me to paint them or their loved on for free. I did not anticipate the response I would receive though. Over 25 messages with stories and images in the first day. It was then that I knew I had to paint them all. The messages never stopped coming however and as of May 5, 2023 I had completed 110.
Early on I knew this should be a project with parameters and those should be clearly defined. I make nothing from the work and in the event any are sold (with the permission of the family or sitter) that money would go to charity. I have sat with and spoke with each and every person or family, either in person or virtually, to discuss what is right for them. Each one gives me written consent to paint their image and to exhibit the originals. A select few families also gave additional permissions to make prints available to help cover my costs of doing the work. (It has never come close however and I stopped selling prints when I chose to take a break from production for a while). I provide unlimited free prints to each sitter or family and they retain full rights to use the digital image of their painting however they see fit as long as it is respectful to the cause and does not amount to personal profit.
Each step of the way has been a learning experience for me and one which has evolved into what it is today. I cant begin to thank all those who have assisted in guiding me through the process of working with families and knowing protocols etc.
The original paintings will be exhibited as long as there is interest in them to do so and when the time comes where that ends each family or individual will be able to decide what happens with their painting. Some have already been sent to families and were never exhibited simply because of the freshness of their loved ones passing and a desire to do anything I can to contribute to healing and support each individual and family.
If you are from a museum, cultural center, gallery or otherwise and would like to exhibit the work please reach out through the contact form on this site. But keep in mind this is a not-for-profit project for me and so the works cannot be available for sale at this time.
If your interested in supporting the project or would like to purchase a piece I suggest you do a google search for local organizations in your area who need funding to support families connected to this. It is expensive to search for a loved one and the funding would be better served with them.
I previously accepted supply donations, however since I am currently slowing down on production, I do not need supplies at this time. However, I am looking for support related to framing and shipping work to exhibits and to families when that time comes. This support needs to be in the form of donated time or supplies and not funding sent to me as I never want to touch money for this work. But if you have a creative idea for how to lessen the burden related to shipping and framing the work, please feel free to reach out.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. I have been diligent about being transparent about the processes involved in this project and would be happy to share them with anyone who would like to know.