Hanna Harris was 21 years old when she went missing on July 4, 2013. Due to the inadequate response of the justice system, her family and friends searched for Hanna. The community led a march for justice for Hanna and other unresolved murders of Native women.
The current reports of abduction and murder of Native women and girls are alarming and represent one of the most horrific aspects of the spectrum of violence committed against Native women. The murder rate of Native women is more than ten times the national average on some reservations. Often, these disappearances or murders are connected to crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking. The intersection of gender based violence and MMIW is heavily intertwined.
Since May 5, 2017, numerous Native women have disappeared and many have been murdered. Turning our grief to action, NIWRC strongly supports and calls upon Congress to address 1) the need for additional tribal victim services and tribal justice resources affirmed in several federal reports, including most recently the Broken Promises https://rm.niwrc.org/article/broken-promises-continuing-federal-funding-shortfall-for-native-americans-u-s-commission-on-civil-rights-new-report/ and 2) the inadequate responses of the federal and state criminal justice systems that fail Native women. The issues surrounding missing and murdered Native women must be brought into the public's awareness to increase accountability of the justice systems.
A National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls will 1) honor their lives of our Native sisters, 2) help shed light on the countless tragedies involving our Native sisters, and 3) highlight the need for ongoing grassroots advocacy and organizing for change of laws, policies/protocols, and allocation of resources at the tribal, federal, and state levels to end these injustices. We are calling on all those concerned for the safety of Native women to organize at the local, tribal, state, national, and international levels to support a 2019 National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. Native women need action now.
NIWRC is committed to increasing safety and access to justice for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women and girls, to bringing awareness to this critical issue of missing and murdered Native women, and in preventing future acts of violence in our Nations. We must also help lift the voices of the families and communities impacted by all murdered and missing Native women and girls by calling on all those concerned for the safety of Native women to join this effort! Together, we will never stop fighting for justice.
Please follow the link below to support the resolution and the continued grassroots organizing & action needed to uplift our collective voices in saying to Members of Congress that enough is enough!
Now is the time for action!
Cherrah Giles, Chairwoman, Board of DirectorsLucy Simpson, Executive Director