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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Healing Journey

Healing Journey

2018 - Art Winner

Ashton Walker

Winnipeg, MB
St. Theresa Point
Age 15

Author's Statement

For my artwork, it all started with a question… “Does intergenerational poverty have an impact on MMIW?” I had to answer this question on my own, as not much research is done on this issue. I conducted a survey containing approximately 20 questions. Including questions regarding if the family member who completed the survey had risk factors in their lives (drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse.). My survey was done across Manitoba and had 50 participants so my survey does not have a conclusion that 100% represents all of the MMIW cases. My survey showed that: 36.36% of people living in poverty (based on low-income households.) has had an indigenous woman in their immediate family gone missing or has been murdered. 22.73% of people not living in poverty (based on low-income households.) has had an indigenous woman in their immediate family go missing. From these results, it's shown that intergenerational poverty does have an impact on MMIW. As this is a huge issue, and can’t solve it on my own, I showed in my artwork how I believe close friends or family members of victims can heal from trauma caused by MMIW.
In my artwork, you can see a naked Indigenous woman. The woman is naked because she is untouched by risk factors, but there is dirt on her body representing that she is in poverty. The woman is hugging Mother Earth, who is mostly water. Why I choose to make Mother Earth mostly water is from the water teachings, that water and women are connected. The smoke coming from Mother Earth is about the story/teaching of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. There are 3 beats at the back of Mother Earth, representing a drum beat and the Ojibwa story of the drum. In Mother Earths' stomach, there's a red pigment, representing a full tummy, a tradition/teaching of women preparing food for feasts. In Mother Earths' knee, there’s a tipi, representing the history that women would stay with and care for their families. Lastly, the background. The dark to light is a journey of healing from the MMIW trauma. The yellow is representing the full moon ceremony, a ceremony specifically for women.