The Oneida Indian Nation’s Shako:wi Cultural Center will showcase eleven beautiful, hand-crafted ribbon skirts beginning May 1 as part of a display to help bring awareness to the alarming numbers of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women. The skirts, made in honor of the memory of these women, are part of a Ribbon Skirts for MMIW awareness exchange between the Akwesasne, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tonawanda, Tuscarora, Seneca and Shinnecock communities and a group from the Indigenous Healing Center in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada.

Members of the Oneida community, including Doris Wilkins-Wilt (Wolf Clan), Kathryn Dickerman (Turtle Clan), Cindy Schenandoah-Stanford (Wolf Clan), MJ Schenandoah and Shako:wi Cultural Programs Coordinator Jessica Farmer, worked for several weeks creating skirts to be exchanged with other participating communities. The 11 skirts received in the exchange will be on display at Shako:wi from May 1 through May 14 in an effort to help bring awareness to the issue that has affected so many.

According to the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are approximately 4,200 cases of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women that have gone unsolved. Historically, American Indian and Alaska Native communities have struggled with high rates of assault, abduction and even murder. As part of a history of government policies of illegal land transactions, forced removal and violence against Native peoples, these unsolved cases have left a legacy felt across Indian Country.

The Shako:wi Cultural Center also is hosting a Spring Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Center located at 5 Territory Road, Oneida, NY.  The event will feature Oneida and other American Indian crafters as well as a Fry Bread Competition and Smoke Dance Competition. The Ribbon Skirts for MMIW awareness display will be featured during the festival.

For more information, contact the Shako:wi Cultural Center at 315-829-8801.