Artwork and MMIWG

Artwork and MMIWG

artwork: “Holding Boots” by Annie Pootoogook



by Katarina Ziervogel



Art is a creative expression through paintings, photographs, music, films, dance, and other artistic forms. There is no limit to expressing one’s own creativity because it comes in unique ways. For instance, Indigenous people in Canada have a great history of art that dates as far as the last Ice Age (between 80,000 – 12,000 years ago)[1]. Indigenous artwork plays a huge role in most Indigenous people’s lives. It can help them to heal from traumatic events, including loss of a loved one, and personal trauma. Lately, some people are creating Indigenous artwork in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, and to support the families of MMIWG.

For instance, two teenagers, Aiyana and Kaiya Leonard La Couvee from Calgary collected more than 1,200 pairs of shoes for an art project, in hope of raising awareness for MMIWG[2]. Their birth mother was murdered last November. The art project has been exhibited in Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta as part of the 12th annual Awo Taan Healing Lodge Sisters in Spirit March and Vigil.

Not only does Indigenous artwork guide people on a healing journey from the pain, but it also raises awareness for MMIWG. Walking with Our Sisters ( is a massive art installation that contains of 1,763+ pairs of moccasin vamps[3]. Each moccasin vamp represents one missing or murdered woman. Some moccasin vamps have been donated by individuals to the project. Currently, Walking with Our Sisters is doing a tour across Canada to exhibit the pairs of moccasin vamps, and to raise the awareness of MMIWG and injustice.

Recently, we’ve lost an incredibly talented Inuit artist, Annie Pootoogook who was well-known for her raw, uncensored crayon and ink drawings of her life in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Pootoogook faced some hardships in her life, but art helped her overcome her struggles and she gained success from her incredible artwork[4]. Her artworks are displayed at various art museums in North America. Without Indigenous artwork and talented artists, the journey to healing the wounds for all Indigenous people would be undoubtedly more difficult.


  1. Vastokas, Joan. “Indigenous Art in Canada.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
  2. Lo, Tricia. “Sisters in Spirit Vigil Honours Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Calgary.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
  3. Rice, Waubgeshig. “Walking With Our Sisters Memorial for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Drawing Crowds in Ottawa.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
  4. Everett-Green, Robert, and Gloria Galloway. “Annie Pootoogook: A Life Too Short, Built on Creativity but Marred by Despair.” The Globe and Mail. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.