Gamma Delta Pi, OU's only Native American sorority, is hosting a silent auction for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, or MMIW, with inspired artworks now through Feb. 27.
The auction includes two hand drawn pieces inspired by and presented during the 2020 MMIW awareness week last November. Red Council chair Dawn Toppah-Landon reached out to two Indigenous artists, Antonia Belindo and Brent Greenwood, who donated the works of art, according to a statement from Gamma Delta Pi’s Black Council Chair LeeAnna McWhorter.
Brent Greenwood is from Edmond, Oklahoma, and is the director of fine arts for the Chickasaw Nation. He offered his painting in support of raising MMIW awareness, according to the statement.
“I chose to paint the red buffalo as not only a symbol of the MMIW movement, but as strong medicine to heal our broken hearts and find closure in the return of our MMIW — to bring those responsible to justice,” Greenwood said in an email.
Antonia Belindo was raised in southwest Oklahoma and graduated from high school in Mountain View, Oklahoma.
“I accepted the invitation to participate in the event due to the responsibility I believe each person must have to advocate for justice, bring awareness and promote avenues for holistic healing of Missing Murdered Indigenous People,” Belindo said in the email.
Proceeds will be donated to future Gamma Delta Pi community events as well as Oklahoma’s tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition NAAV — Native Alliance Against Violence — according to the statement.
“The current auction absolutely reflects Gamma Delta Pi’s values as a sorority. ... Our founding values are the appreciation of Native culture, unity, respect, scholarship and the sisterhood of Native American women,” McWhorter said in the statement. “Highlighting the issue of MMIW through these artwork pieces absolutely aims to protect and better the lives of our sisters and Indigenous women as a whole.”
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Week is an event Gamma Delta Pi has observed since 2018, according to the statement. The issue, however, “remains widely unknown” to many non-Native people.
Former Red Council chair Natha Little Crow and the Red Council as a whole designed the week in 2018 to begin a conversation and bring awareness to OU’s student body on this issue. According to the statement, Gamma Delta Pi began the event with the hope it would help increase protection for Native women, raise awareness about MMIW and potentially inspire more federal legislation in the future.
“By recognizing the threats we face, we strengthen the bond between us as sisters, and our impact as advocates,” McWhorter said in the statement.
Gamma Delta Pi’s silent auction is running now until Saturday, Feb. 27. Current bid prices for each piece are pinned to the top of the Gamma Delta Pi Facebook page and are updated regularly.