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Native women host Capitol Hill briefing on missing and murdered sisters

Native women rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on December 7, 2015, to call attention to high rates of violence in Indian Country. Photo by Indianz.Com / / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Native women are hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss efforts to address their missing and murdered sisters.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the Indian Law Resource Center and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center are co-sponsoring the event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. They hope to raise awareness of the high rates of violence affecting missing and murdered Native women and girls.

“American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average,” said Lucy Simpson, the executive director of NIWRC. “The harsh reality of our lives as Native women is that our sisters, mothers, daughters, and community members disappear and nothing is done. This must change.”

The briefing coincides with efforts in Congress to declare May 5 as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The date was chosen to honor the memory of Hanna Harris, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who was murdered in 2013 at the age of 21.

“Turning our grief to action we strongly support the resolution calling for a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls to help increase awareness and shed light on the countless tragedies involving our Native sisters,” said Cherrah Giles, the chairwoman of NIWRC's board of directors.

The briefing is being held in cooperation with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has advocated for stronger protections for Native women in Alaska and in the Lower 48. It takes place at 1:30pm in Room 902 of the Room 902.