Apr 30, 2021

*Even with so much attention focused on Indian Country’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot forget that May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls (MMIWG).

Social distancing and “shelter-in-place” guidelines may prevent in-person MMIWG activities; but Native communities and programs (and supporters) are encouraged to creatively participate in this year’s National Day of Awareness.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the murder rate of Native females is more than ten times the national average on some reservations. Often, these murders or disappearances are connected to crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking.

May 5 has been recognized since 2017 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The Montana Congressional delegation persuaded the U.S. Senate to pass a resolution declaring the national day of awareness. The date was selected because May 5 was the birthday of Hanna Harris, a 21-year-old member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe who went missing July 4, 2013.

The National Day of Awareness highlights the need for ongoing grassroots advocacy and changes to the laws, policies, and increased allocation of resources to end these injustices. Individual and/or joint actions are encouraged at the local, tribal, state, and national levels.

To bring more attention to the issues surrounding missing and murdered Native females, national Native women advocacy groups (and supporters) have asked individuals to wear the color red.

*This article published by Native News Online and can be found at https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/may-5-is-national-day-of-awareness-for-missing-and-murdered-native-women-and-girls  

TO LEARN MORE, watch a special webinar about MMIMG on Thursday, May 13, at 7 PM, shared by the Baltimore Washington Conference Committee on Native American Ministries. Register for the free viewing.