As the National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls nears and taking place Saturday May 5th, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, has released a”Social Media Guidance Package” to senators, advocates, and organizations to help get them engaged.
The social media effort will employ the social media hashtags #NotInvisible #MMIW #MMIWG.
Many on social media will also be wearing a red shirt or red ribbon in remembrance of the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls and their families.
The information released by Heitkamp’s senate office is as follows:
Social Media Guidance:
“There is a crisis in Indian Country of missing and murdered Native American women that is too often unknown outside of Indian Country and too often forgotten. 84 percent of Native American women experience some kind of violence in their lifetime, and on some reservations, Native American women are murdered at 10 times the national average,” said Heitkamp in a release.
Senator Heitkamp says has been working to bring this issue out of the shadows through a social media campaign she launched in November using #NotInvisible.
“Only once we raise awareness about this epidemic can we then help implement solutions to stop these tragedies from occurring,” said Heitkamp.
The #NotInvisible social media effort builds on Senator Heitkamp’s bill, Savanna’s Act (S. 1942), that would be a starting point to tackle the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women nationwide. The bill is named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was tragically killed in Fargo, North Dakota in August 2017.
“But you don’t need to have endorsed the bill to participate in this social media effort or to highlight the national day of awareness on Saturday,” said Heitkamp. “On Saturday, please help us raise awareness about this crisis on social media so we can then implement changes.”
Heitkamp’s office says there are several reasons for creating this awareness:
To raise awareness of the terrible tragedies of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls across the United States, and to highlight the statistics which show that indigenous women and girls are murdered or go missing at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the population.
Senator Heitkamp is asking citizens across the nation to “please message your senator’s work in addressing this crisis.”
How You Can Become Involved with the #NotInvisible, #MMIW, #MMIWG Hashtag
(MMIW and MMIWG added by Indian Country Today)
This Saturday, to help raise awareness, you can participate by taking a photo of yourself, (or senator) holding the included #NotInvisible hashtag sign or a plain sheet of paper with #NotInvisible typed out as in the examples below. If a selfie is not possible, you can also choose to include one of the attached graphics to share statistics about this crisis to help raise awareness about this issue.
On Wednesday, November 29th 2017, Senator Heitkamp led the social media hashtag effort #NotInvisible to raise awareness about the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women during National Native American Heritage Month.
Fellow senators, celebrities, organizations, journalists, and tribal leaders responded to the campaign by posting selfies along with the #NotInvisible hashtag. See a few past examples from November here:
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (@senatorheitkamp): https://twitter.com/SenatorHeitkamp/status/935900242905522176
Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley): https://twitter.com/SenJeffMerkley/status/935949971286831108
Senator Cory Booker (@CoryBooker): https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/936401661815336960
Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester): https://twitter.com/SenatorTester/status/935913969046507520
Senator Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall): https://twitter.com/SenatorTomUdall/status/935977982744842246
Cindy McCain (@cindymccain): https://twitter.com/cindymccain/status/935969613124272129
Julia Jones (@JuliaRJones): https://twitter.com/juliarjones/status/935974248664977409
Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson): https://www.instagram.com/p/BcIO0Zolqfb
Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo): https://twitter.com/markruffalo/status/935957487852883974?lang=en
Indian Country Today Associate Editor Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling): https://twitter.com/VinceSchilling/status/935929625808723969
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI1944): https://twitter.com/search?q=%40NCAI1944%20%23notinvisible&src=typd
Troubling Statistics You Can Share on Social Media Via Tweets, Facebook and More
On some reservations, Native American women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average. It’s time to address the disproportionate rate at which Native women experience violence or go missing, so they are #NotInvisible #MMIWG
84% of Native American women experience violence in their lifetime. But outside of Indian Country, few people are aware of this epidemic. It's time to raise awareness and show that these women are #NotInvisible #MMIWG
There were 5,712 incidents of missing & murdered Native American women in 2016. We need to stand by the women who are experiencing staggering levels of violence and make them #NotInvisible #MMIWG
The crisis of missing & murdered indigenous women urgently needs more attention and #SavannasAct would help law enforcement crackdown on these horrible crimes. We must make sure women like Savanna are #NotInvisible
Online Materials / Social References and Facebook / Twitter Graphics
Three graphics that pair with each of the above statistics are attached to this email, in formats suitable for Twitter and Facebook/Instagram.
Twitter Card - Put The Link At The End Of Your Tweet
Another alternative to a #NotInvisible selfie or statistics graphic is to include a Twitter Card with your tweet. Include this link at the end of your tweet text and it will automatically pull in a Twitter card, though it will replace any attached graphics/photos so make sure to choose only one option:
(Tip: Twitter Cards will not appear in Tweetdeck, but are fully visible on Twitter’s site & mobile apps)
Primary initiative hashtag
#MMIW (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women)
#MMIWG (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls)
National Statistics & Sources
On some reservations, Native women are murdered at a rate of 10 times the national average. (U.S. Department of Justice: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/223691.pdf)
84% of Native women have experienced some type of violence in their lives. (National Institute of Justice: https://nij.gov/journals/277/Pages/violence-against-american-indians-alaska-natives.aspx)
5,712 known incidents of missing and murdered Indigenous women in 2016. (National Crime Information Center, requested data)
National Support Resources
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)
Provides educational and preventative resources and can help promote community awareness.
Phone: (406) 477 – 3896
StrongHearts Native Helpline
Offers legal assistance, referrals, and advocacy.
Phone: (844) 762 – 8483
National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS)
Unfortunately, available data on missing indigenous people is scattered throughout various tribal, federal, state, and other jurisdictions. One publicly-searchable database is the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) operated by the U.S Department of Justice, though its information is dependent on data provided by various jurisdictions on a volunteer basis. NAMUS provides a search option for missing persons by race, including Native Americans.
An online database started in 2015 to log cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and two spirit people. Created by Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student at the University of Lethbridge, the database is compiled by Native advocates and community members, family members, social media, federal and state missing persons databases, and law enforcement records gathered through public records requests. Data is currently available by request only: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our comprehensive related coverage on MMIW - A Comprehensive Report on MMIW: The Curiously Different Tales of Violence against Indigenous Women On Both Sides of Turtle Island - by Lisa Ellwood.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on TwitterFollow @VinceSchilling