Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tâniwêhâ

I will introduce a new piece into my on-line shop today.

It's titled Tâniwêhâ? 
Tâniwêhâ means "Where are they?" in Plain's Cree. Where are...my sisters? 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has created a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. An unimaginable tally of 582 cases.

Of these:  67% are murder cases (death as the result of homicide or negligence);  20% are cases of missing women or girls;  4% are cases of suspicious death—deaths regarded as natural or accidental by police, but considered suspicious by family or community members; and in 9% the nature of the case is unknown—where it's unclear whether the woman was murdered, is missing or died in suspicious circumstances.



Tâniwêhâ is my way of crying out for them.

In the circa 1870 picture to the right, Cree chief Poundmaker's wife wore a similar neck piece, earrings, and braids. The background Cree passage in Tâniwêhâ is from an excerpt of Little Red Riding Hood, translated into Cree writing by religious missionaries bent on replacing First Nations people's traditional folklore. I included the dream catcher as a symbole that First Nation's dreams can't be crushed.

But, let's not forget Tâniwêhâ...the buffalo and Tâniwêhâ...the promises kept. 

As an aside, I'm always impressed when First Nations people, like the singer Buffy Saint Marie, wear native inspired "fashion"...as everyday atire. It's strong.