Help Get Save Wiyabi to SXSW to Present on Tech, Social Media and Violence Against Women

by Lauren Chief Elk-Young Bear on February 25th, 2015

Editor’s note: Save Wiyabi is raising funds so they can present at SXSW. Please donate and support here. 

This year at South by Southwest Interactive there will be a panel on Monday, March 16th titled “Technicians of the Sacred” which will feature Indigenous people from around the world, presenting on the ways we’ve fused modern technology with traditional teachings. The focus will be on our new innovations and how we use them to serve the needs of our communities addressing cultural and social issues.

Screenshot from SXSW with panel details. Reads 'When the drumming goes quiet in the auditorium, this panel will rock SXSW with a conversation about what happens when technology meets the world and developers bring tribal wisdom to the table. TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED will showcase new projects and platforms where code and culture go hand-in-hand and technology is inspired by tribal narratives; in this interactive conversation you will see demos of innovation projects that capture the vision and serve the needs of communities who are protecting ancient ways and calling up the spirits while innovating with some of the top technologists in the world.'

I will be presenting the Save Wiyabi Mapping Project (featured many times in Model View Culture) currently at, along with Save Wiyabi Project’s usage of hashtags and general social media forums to address violence against women and girls. The map and database consist of reports and cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the United States and Canada. We map and plot cases under categories of: unsolved and solved murders, undetermined deaths, unidentified remains, and unsolved missing. This has been a vital piece of technology and a supremely useful tool as much of this violence against Indigenous women is erased and unrecognized. The goal of creating this, especially as a grassroots effort outside of the state, is because the violence and tracking of it are ignored and unimportant to our government structures. This will be the debut of the newly updated and redesigned map and database, and we are very privileged to be relaunching it at this forum.

We are very grateful for being able to do this work as violence against Indigenous women across the continent is at extraordinary levels. The map, along with all of our work, came (and remains) at a time when we felt there was a need to get artistic and imaginative with addressing these issues. As a collection of activists, criminologists, victim-service providers, Indigenous rights organizers, researchers, and educators we have taken all of this upon ourselves as a truly grassroots endeavor sans institutional funding or non-profit status. At this time we would be very appreciative for any type of financial backing to assist in supporting our trip to Austin for SXSW to make our contribution to [and our presence on] the panel happen.

Read more about the panel and donate here.