Unless you are Indigenous yourself, you may not have heard of the amount of Indigenous women missing across the United States and Canada.
The amount of news coverage of political candidates, celebrity gossip and other world events appear across our cell phone and laptop screens. Yet, we hear no discussions about Native American news. Specifically, the amount of Indigenous women that go missing every year. Seattle, WA is in the top 10 cities of most missing and murdered Indigenous women in the United States. As of June 2019, there are 56 Indigenous women missing just in the state of Washington (The Bellingham Herald). Why is it that each of these ladies get no news coverage?
Despite popular belief, we are a minority. Our peoples used to be in the hundreds of millions. The goal of colonization and assimilation was to wipe us out completely. We are still here. This creates a problem for non-natives because that means we will still continue to fight for land and water rights and sovereignty. The best way to control us? Is to ignore us. They ignore our achievements but highlight the problems in our communities. They constantly discuss alcoholism and gambling problems in new reports but ignore our missing women.
They ignore us and do not value our women. This is a huge problem. How can we as Indigenous people continue to feel alienated and invisible in our own country? Our own land and water? The land our ancestors took care of for thousands and thousands of years. When they do not value our rights, they do not value our missing women. If a girl from an upper-middle class family goes missing, you hear about it non-stop from the moment it happens. Even months and year later, we continue to get news updates on her. I am not saying this is a bad thing, the woman missing deserves to be searched for. But why do Native women go missing and we hear nothing? Why are their lives not worth the same?
People fight to the ends of the earth to find their loved ones. The news continues to shadow over our missing Indigenous women. What you can do right now is fight against that. If you see a post about a missing Indigenous women, share it. Let your peers and family know so they to can keep a look out for these missing women. Show support in your city by going a MMIW march.
They are our sisters, after all.
For more information:
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report: http://www.uihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center: http://www.niwrc.org/
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women: https://www.csvanw.org/mmiw/
Deb Haaland fighting for Indigenous Women in Congress: