Opinion: Why Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Day matters
May 5 marks Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Day.. The first week of May is National Week of Action for MMIWP. Raising awareness of the issue to Central Oregon Community College students and the Bend community can be a small step toward a big solution.
Bend is just 70 miles away from The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and COCC sits on the traditional homelands of Northern Paiute, Wasco, and Warm Springs Tribes.
According to the FBI in a 2021 study, 40 percent of victims of sex trafficking are Native, despite making up less than 10 percent of the population. “Murder is the third leading cause of death for Native women,” said the Urban Indian Health Institute.
As an Indigenous woman of the Karuk Tribe of California, this day holds great significance to me. MMIW Day aims to reunite families with their loved ones, end violence against native women and bring justice to unheard voices.
To honor MMIW Day, supporters wear red, donate to fundraisers and raise awareness by going to rallies and marches. A popular symbol of the MMIW movement is the red hand painted over someone’s mouth.
“It stands for all of the missing sisters whose voices are not heard, and the silence of the media and law enforcement in the midst of the crisis. It stands for the oppression and subjugation of Native women who are now rising up to say #NoMoreStolenSisters,” said Native Hope, a nonprofit resource for Native Americans.
However, this epidemic is not just women, violence also affects the lives of Native American men:: “82% of Indigenous men are victims of violence in their lifetime,” said Native Hope.
For the upcoming MMIWP Day on May 5, please consider educating yourself and your peers on the subject. Bringing awareness to the issue may save an Indigenous person’s life, bring relief to the families of the missing and stop the widespread silence on a nationwide issue.
For more information on MMIW, click here. To donate to a non-profit supporting Native Americans in need click here.