Meet the artist
Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) is an Emmy-nominated writer, director, producer and multi-media artist. Missy understands her work to be a voice for her ancestors, their stories and ancestral wisdom. Her late father, Ernest Whiteman, influenced her work with the gift of artistic vision and practice of art as a ceremony.
Many of Missy’s films have screened on international, national and local venues such as The Walker Art Center, National Geographic All Roads Festival and Bilabo Spain. Missy is a current recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for Media Arts, a Forecast Public Art Mid-Career grant and is the alumni of The Sundance Native Lab Fellowship and Jerome Fellowship for her short film project The Coyote Way: Going Back Home. Her current project, The Coyote Way X: Expanded Cinema is a multidimensional cinematic experience of The Coyote Way: Going Back Home short film intertwined with performance, live score, video mapping and 360/VR.
About her art
“Indigenous women and girls make up 1% of the state’s population, but from 2010-2018, 8% of all murdered women and girls in Minnesota were Indigenous.
They are at a higher risk of violence because of systemic risk factors: poverty and homelessness, child welfare involvement, and domestic violence. These risk factors are rooted in structural racism and generational trauma.
Insufficient resources, inadequate training, and poor communication among law enforcement agencies cause investigations and prosecutions to fail.
The path to reform is a path toward healing. This begins with recognizing that the historic violence against Indigenous communities is more than an isolated public safety issue. Everything is connected.”
Red Arrow Society
by Missy Whiteman
This billboard series is dedicated to the survivors and victims of the The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Epidemic and the Boarding School era.
For over 100 years the Indigenous people of this land endured a spiritual and cultural prohibition enforced by the U.S. Government, ending in 1978 with the signing of the American Indian Religious freedom Act. During the injunction it was a punishable crime to attend a ceremony, to pray and even more so be a medicine person. Many people were incarcerated in prisons or holy people in “insane” asylums.
We Long before our spiritual prohibition and our women’s roles were honored and treated as sacred. We lived in matriarchal societies as well as elder, youth, men’s and two-spirit societies. There were set protocols and each society honored, respected and had mutual agreements on how these societies worked together.
Most importantly we had women warrior societies and had equal rights as men’s warrior societies. The survivors of the missing and murdered epidemic are also warriors, to heal from the traumas they have endured.
Pocahontas: The First Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman
by Missy Whiteman
The narrative Americans have learned from history books, taught to K-12 youth in schools, and in mainstream media and Disney movies portray Pocahontas as a hero, and friend to the white man. Many do not understand that all of this is false and Pocahontas was a young girl named Matoaka and belonged to the Powhatan Tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy. She was the daughter of a powerful leader, and was kidnapped and used by her captors to gain more land and better trading rights with the Iroquois Confederacy.
The stereotype of The Indian Maiden was created by the myth of Pocohantas in movies and mainstream media which allows the objectification Indigenous Women The result being the normalization and exploitation of Indigenous women and girls in the human trafficking trade.
8th Fire & The 7th GENeration
by Missy Whiteman
We are in a time of change and transformation. Indigenous people call this time the seventh generation and during this time our young ones Will lead the way to healing and become leaders. Indigenous children are also impacted by the Missing and Murdered epidemic today. Our children are sacred and should be honored and protected, so they may show us the way to be human beings and live in a good way.
About the digital artists’ cohort
We Are Still Here will re-center Native voices and stories in the Hennepin Theatre District and the Native American Cultural Corridor through the work of a Native artists’ cohort working in a variety of digital and analog media, leading to a large-scale public art project by fall 2020. All My Relations Arts and Hennepin Theatre Trust have committed to this multiyear partnership to weave Native culture back into Hennepin Avenue with temporary and permanent art that engages Native and non-Native people in a deeper sense of place and share future.