Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA will host an art installation May 19-25 to honor and remember missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW). Red dresses will be on display between Baker Hall and Laidlaw Center to represent the thousands of native women and girls who go missing or are murdered each year. According to the Urban Indian Health Institute in 2016, that number was reported to be 5,712.
The original REDress Project by artist and Métis Nation member Jaime Black began in Winnipeg in 2011 to draw attention to crime against Aboriginal women in Canada. The project has since spread to the U.S. and calls attention to the lack of reporting, data, and justice for Native American women. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, murder is the third leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women.
The installation is a collaboration between WCCs native staff and The Equity Project. Dresses for the installation were donated by native staff and students. In the event that students or staff need someone to talk to after viewing the display, counseling services are available that week in Laidlaw Center 116 Monday – Wednesday 3-4 p.m., Thursday 11-noon, and Friday 3-4 p.m. Support for native staff and students will also be available in the Intercultural Center (Syre Student Center 216) Monday 1-2:30 p.m., Wednesday 11:30-1 p.m., and Thursday 10-noon.
Students, staff and community members are encouraged to learn more about this issue by visiting:
- Urban Indian Health Institute: www.uihi.org
- National Indian Council on Aging: nicoa.org
- Artist Jaime Black: www.theredressproject.org
- Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence: dvcommission.org
About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers a bachelor of applied science degree, transfer degrees, career preparation, online courses and community education classes. WCCs accomplished faculty and staff serve 11,000 students annually. For more information, visit whatcom.edu.