Today is MMIW Awareness Day. If you are reading this on May 5th, I’d just like you to know that I appreciate you for clicking on this article. I know there are so many “Favorite Taco Recipes to Try” articles you could have read instead. But silliness aside, this article is going to be as hard to read as it was to write. So I am putting a *TRIGGER WARNING* content because this article talks about violent events to include death of women in the Native American community. While this is such a heavy subject, it is an important one to be aware of. I will be adding links (not endorsed) towards the end where you can further read on these issues and listen to podcasts and donate. The emotional labor that goes into articles so that we can spread awareness is intense, and we can help by donating for their time. Thank you.
I’m not entirely sure how to start this topic. If I am being completely honest with you I have written and rewritten introductions. But I think I might just go straight to the point.
According to DataUSA, Flagstaff has a population of 7.74% Native Americans, and ncai.org tells us that in the 2010 Decennial Census, “0.9% of the U.S. population, or 2.9 million people, identified as American Indian or Alaska Native alone, while 1.7% of the U.S. population, or 5.2 million people, identified as American Indian or Alaska Native alone or in combination with another race”. Heartbreaking when you see those numbers and then you read that the U.S Department of Justice found that American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average.
Today, May 5th, is National Awareness Day for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
“In 2019, the Senate officially designated May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. Why? May 5th honors the birthday of Hanna Harris, a young Northern Cheyenne woman who went missing in Lame Deer, Montana and was found five days later in 2013; she was determined to have been raped and murdered. This day seeks to honor the memory of Hanna Harris and to commemorate other missing and murdered Indigenous women within the United States while raising awareness about this issue.”- https://www.nativewomenswilderness.org/mmiw
Why am I writing about this?
This space is for mothers, for our children, for our communities. These women and children are our neighbors, our co-workers, our families, and our friends. I write about this because Flagstaff neighbors the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Kaibab-Paiute and Hualapai peoples to name a few (we are on Native land!). These events are happening in our own communities. Many times these atrocities fly under the radar due to lack of support from outside sources.
What affects one of us, affects all of us in different ways. While we can choose to turn away from the harsh realities of these statistics, these women are living it.
What can we do? We can start by becoming more aware of our prejudices that have been subliminally ingrained into us, and unlearn them.
We can also donate to local mutual aid organizations that help our unhoused community which includes Native American women. Do advocacy work. Donate to organizations that are helping find our stolen sisters. Support Native artists/content creators and their work. One of the most important things you can do is listen. Listen and donate.
Like stated at the beginning, this is a heavy topic and while it is very important to bring awareness to this, it is also important that we not talk over Native voices. That being said, I am linking accounts for you to follow on Instagram and organizations where you can learn more. Thank you again for your time and continued support on this platform.
Local Flagstaff Organizations:
Follow #MMIW on all social media platforms for more information/posts. Links are not affiliated or endorsed.