Talented artist raises awareness for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women's movement

Jessica Horne is painting portraits to raise awareness of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s movement.

Native American and First Nations women in the U.S. are facing epidemic levels of violence. The FBI’s National Crime Information Center reported 5,203 missing Indigenous girls and women in 2021.

Indigenous women face murder rates more than 10 times the national average, according to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW). Murder is the third leading cause of death for Indigenous women aged 10 to 24.

Horne is Ponca and Northern Arapaho. Her paintings shine a lot on MMIW but also depict Native peoples’ cultures. Many of her portraits feature a red handprint painted over the woman’s lips.

The red handprint has become symbolic of the MMIW movement. The hand represents how women have been silenced.

Horne’s paintings also feature Native American women dealing with lighter subject matters.

In her artist statement, she explained her subjects are not “defined by colonization or genocide, but by the strength and beauty of their own identities and cultures.”

Progress is being made as Indigenous women lead the charge in the fight for their lives. Each year May 5 is recognized as a national day of awareness for MMIW. Besides organizations like Native Hope, CSVANW and Native Women’s Wilderness mobilizing communities, legislators are taking action.

In March, the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Liberties held a hearing on The Neglected Epidemic of Missing BIPOC Women and Girls.” Native American Rep. Deb Haaland also introduced the Not Invisible Act which would use federal resources to work with tribal authorities to address the issue.

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