Amber Christine Hopkins, 1988-2019, is seen in a photo on social media.

'Not one more': Native woman laid to rest after going missing in urban area

Amber Christine Hopkins, a citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, was laid to rest on Monday after she had gone missing in Minnesota's largest city.

Hopkins was last seen in Minneapolis on January 14, not long before her 31st birthday. She was five months pregnant at the time, according to news reports.

Her body was found on March 26 in the backyard of a vacant home in the north side of the city, according to the police department. Autopsy results are pending so the cause of death is not yet known.

"This must end. Our Native women deserve to be seen, heard, valued and loved," Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan (D), who is a citizen of the White Earth Nation and is the first Native woman to serve in the office, wrote in a post on social media on Monday. "Not one more."

According to the Urban Indian Health Institute, 71 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in urban areas like Minneapolis. In a landmark report, the organization uncovered 9 cases of missing and murdered Native women in the city, where about 1.2 percent of the population is Native.

Inadequate data, however, means there are likely more instances of Native women who have gone missing or have been murdered. Overall, the study found records of 20 #MMIW cases in Minnesota -- Minneapolis (9), St. Paul (7) and Duluth (4).

Provisions in H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, seek to address the crisis by requiring an annual report on the number of missing and murdered Native women. The federal government also must work on ways to improve data collection on #MMIW cases.

In hopes of strengthening the bill, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) has drafted an amendment to include urban Indian populations in victim advocate and victim resource programs. The proposal is being considered at House committee meeting on H.R.1585 this evening.

"Indigenous women deserve to be protected like just anyone else in this country," Haaland, who is one of the first two Native women in Congress, said last month at the first-ever hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives on the #MMIW crisis.

According to Hopkins' obituary, she leaves behind a daughter. A wake and memorial took place for her over the weekend.

"Amber was a kind, caring and loving person," the obituary reads. "She was always smiling. Amber loved her family, dressing up and doing her hair and makeup."

Read More on the Story
Family seeks answers in Mpls. woman's death (KARE March 31, 2019)
Death of woman found in Minneapolis snow pile haunts family and community (The Minneapolis Star Tribune March 30, 2019)
Body found in north Minneapolis was woman missing since January, her family says (The Minneapolis Star Tribune March 36, 2019)

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