Sadly, Native Americans continue to sit at the bottom of every social indicator. And not only are Native Americans more likely to be shot by a police officer than any other race or ethnic group, but we are also disproportionately incarcerated in the Montana prison system. Although Native Americans make up around 6.7 percent of Montana’s population, we make up 16 percent of the prison population. To determine if racial inequality exists, it takes just a handful of statistics to see the gravity of the situation. When Montana Indians make up around 26% of the missing people in Montana, the racial equity gaps become even more evident. And only recently has the widespread and pervasive epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People come to the consciousness of Montana and the country. Although emergency response and media coverage has slightly improved in Montana, such efforts continue to lag far behind that of missing white women. We refuse to stand idle and have these issues swept under the rug. We stand in solidarity with black Americans and ask for true change to happen throughout our country. Nobody should feel intimidated anywhere in this land of the free and the home of the brave, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation. As our country looks in the mirror, we must recognize and address these disparities. We must have hard conversations and educate one another to break down stereotypes and start closing the gaps of inequality. Although the gaps in racial inequality are far from being closed, we recognize that many attitudes and perspectives toward Native Americans have changed for the better. We know Montana is filled with a lot of wonderful people.
Yesterday, I joined my family and hundreds of friends and allies to walk for Jermain Charlo. There is much work to be done to bring parity to our indigenous communities. #mmiw #walkforjustice pic.twitter.com/cIaHnPKUKR— Shane Morigeau (@shanemorigeau) June 17, 2020
The members of the Montana American Indian Caucus in the State Legislature are: Sen. Susan A. Webber, Rep. Shane A. Morigeau, Rep. Bridget Smith, Sen. Frank Smith, Rep. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, Rep. Barbara Bessette, Rep. Jade Bahr, Rep. Marvin Weatherwax, Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy.
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