Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives

The Department of Multicultural Affairs has begun November’s Native American heritage month by hosting events catered by Native American speakers who are explaining to students what their different organizations are all about.

The first event was on Nov. 10, led by Stephanie Salazar, a member of the Navajo nation and general counsel for the New Mexico Indian Affairs. She created this event to explain to the students of Eastern New Mexico University about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives task force.

Salazar explains that still to this day injustice and physical harm is still occurring and that four out of five American Indian and Alaskan women have experienced violence in their lives.

“According to the national institute of justice report from 2016 which was authored by Andre B Rosay, the majority of American Indians and Alaskan native victims have experienced violence at the hands of at least one interracial perpetrator in their lifetime,” she stated.

New Mexico has the highest rate of 78 percent of American Indians experiencing some violence in their lifetime, which is why the MMIWR task force was created. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women announced that 506 American Indian and Alaskan Native women and girls have gone missing or murdered around 71 selected cities in their study. 128 of them had missing person cases, 280 were murder cases, 98 with unknown cases, and 29 was the median age of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ victims.

Currently the MMIWR are facing five difficult areas to keep their people safe.

Area 1: Jurisdiction; with the barriers dividing native and federal police jurisdiction, when a case occurs so does finger pointing.

Area 2: Communication and Coordination, lack of access to shared databases and training needed for violent crime investigator.

Area 3: Consistent Funding to Tribal Justices Systems, with the BIA only finding 21 percent of law enforcement, 49 percent to detention centers, 3 percent to tribal court needs.

Area 4: Accurate Data, racial misclassification.

Area 5: Media Coverage, lack mainstream media alerting the people of these incidents.

Fortunately, two acts have been presented and passed by President Trump on Oct. 10to help assist with these curtail areas. The Savannahs Act S 227,named after a pregnant 22 year old Spirit Lake tribal member, and Not Invisible Act S. 982 ith the hopes of these both in place will help save the lives of the MMIWR.

If students, faculty, or alumni want to get more involved in the different organizations that assist the MMIWR, MMIW, or MMIWG task force, contact Salazar through her email at Stephanie.Salazar@state.mn.us .

If students, faculty, or alumni want to view the recording of this event or other past events hosted by The Department of Multicultural Affairs, they can click on this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX7Jsr4BIMemKBnH_ySgyXw/ which will take them straight to their YouTube page.

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