24th Navajo Nation Council
Madam Chair Amber Kanazbah Crotty of the 24th Navajo Nation Council was joined by Cellular One and Pendleton Woolen Mills to announce the commissioning of Navajo artisan Ms. Leandra Yazzie to design a Special Artists Edition Healing Blanket to benefit ongoing efforts of the Missing and Murdered Diné Relatives (MMDR) movement.
In March 2019, the Navajo Nation Council supported establishing a working group to begin addressing the ongoing crisis of MMDR in the Navajo Nation. The group is comprised of a multidisciplinary team tasked with developing a framework to establish a Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives data institute, develop a missing persons community action toolkit, and create healing spaces for the families of victims.
“The Navajo Nation is deeply grateful for the support of Cellular One and Pendleton Woolen Mills. We can make real progress when enough families speak up, and community stakeholders come together. We can impact legislation and ensure collaboration between tribal and state law enforcement officers so there is greater cohesion for search efforts and justice is served for victims and their families,” said Madam Chair Amber Kanazbah Crotty (Cove, Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Red Valley, Tsé'ałnáoozt'i'í, Sheep Springs, Beclabito, Gad'ii'áhí/Tó Kǫ'í).
A talented, self-taught Diné artist, Ms. Leandra Yazzie lives in Blue Gap, Ariz., and was raised surrounded by her grandmother and aunt, who are renowned Navajo weavers. It is the resilient woman in her life who inspire her artwork and its vibrancy and cultural undertones.
“I am proud to be a part of this initiative to support the Navajo MMDR movement. It is an honor to apply my art to such an important cause. When Cellular One and Pendleton reached out to me, I quickly felt inspiration take hold. The design of this blanket is intended to convey hope and healing — symbolizing the resilience of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy,” added Ms. Yazzie.
According to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report, the National Crime Information Center reports that there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the Department of Justice’s federal missing person database only logged 116 cases.
Cellular One CEO Judd Hinkle expressed his appreciation for the project and added, “Far too many Navajo families and members of other tribal nations have experienced the unspeakable loss and deep pain of a loved one going missing or being found murdered. The work of organizations like the MMDR is critical to turning the tide, and we are very proud to support them as they strive to raise awareness, help families of victims to heal, and seek meaningful solutions to save lives.”
A Department of Justice report stated that Native Americans face some of the highest rates of violence in the country, experiencing violent crime at higher rates than the national average.
“We are grateful to work with Leandra Yazzie to create the healing blanket. She joined this important initiative without hesitation and created a beautiful and deeply meaningful design. Pendleton is committed to giving back through philanthropic partnerships. We appreciate the opportunity to help support the powerful work the Murdered and Missing Diné Relatives organization is doing to raise awareness, find solutions and justice for these tragedies,” said Pendleton CEO John Bishop.
Last month, Madam Chair Crotty received the Eleanor E. Roehrig Advocate Award for being an outspoken champion for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives movement, the elderly, young people, and the LGBTQ+ community.
The MMDR Healing Blanket will be available for purchase nationwide this December on the Pendleton website: www.pendleton-usa.com
Donations to the Missing and Murdered Diné Relatives (MMDR) movement can be accessed here: https://www.navajommdr.com/donate