National Indigenous Women's Resource Center statement on 2020 Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls — May 5th

Pictured: Cherrah Giles, NIWRC Board Chair, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Cherokee.(Photo: National Indigenous Women's Resource Center)

Press Pool

MMIW, MMIWG crisis has existed since contact with European colonizers

News Release

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center

The crisis of missing and murdered Native women and girls is alarming and a tragic reflection of the spectrum of violence committed against Native women and girls. Federal statistics report the murder rate of American Indian women on some reservations is more than ten times the national average. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking are the causes of many of these disappearances and murders.

However, this crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) is not new. It has existed since contact with European colonizers. Inhumane federal Indian policies resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of Indian Nations. These same federal policies specifically impacted Native women over the centuries. On May 5th, we pause to honor all Native women and girls, past and present, who suffered and died as a result of violence as part of the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.

Pictured: NIWRC Director of Research and Policy Rose Quilt, Confederated Tribes and Bands of
 the Yakama Indian Nation.
Pictured: NIWRC Director of Research and Policy Rose Quilt, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation.(Photo: National Indigenous Women's Resource Center)

While history cannot be undone, changes to current federal policies can increase the safety of Native women to save lives. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center recognizes that before the MMIWG crisis can be fully addressed, it must first be acknowledged. Since 2017, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center has organized with sister organizations at the tribal, state, and federal levels to recognize and honor Native women and girls who are missing or have been murdered. This year, despite the challenges of the current pandemic, thousands will honor our missing and murdered grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters through collective virtual actions upholding social distancing and stay-at-home orders, demonstrating the resiliency of our tribal communities.

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center joins the efforts to commemorate the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls through our own personal and collective actions in our homes and online. We ask all of those concerned about safety and justice for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women to join us on May 5th to honor Native women and girls who have disappeared or have been murdered. We will continue to call for justice for our relatives. Their stories matter and their lives matter – we cannot allow their cases to be ignored. Together we can work to bring an end to this crisis endangering not only Native women and girls but the future of Indian Nations.

Lucy Simpson, Diné, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

Cherrah Giles, Muscogee (Creek), Board Chair, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children. National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center provides national leadership in ending gender-based violence in tribal communities by lifting the collective voices of grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty.

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(Image: National Indigenous Women's Resource Center)
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