Yet, none of our relatives to date have received much, if any, attention from the news media, concentrated efforts by law enforcement departments, or an outpouring of financial contributions from ordinary citizens. Indian tribes, communities and family members don’t have unlimited financial resources to help us locate our missing relatives. Up until recently, our missing relatives have not amassed social media followings to galvanize searches. The contrast that we are witnessing regarding this particular case is heartbreaking to the many Indigenous families and communities dealing with the daily pain of losing their loved ones. The contrast sends the message that society has little regard for Indigenous lives. We are not alone in seeing systemic and law enforcement bias when it comes to the lack of coverage of and case resolutions of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives (MMIR). In 2004 this lack of attention and bias was given a title — “Missing White Woman Syndrome” — by the late American news anchor Gwen Ifill. Moreover, American news outlets continue to be less demographically diverse, with staffing consisting of primarily white male journalists, according to the Pew Research Center. The lack of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) journalists in the mainstream contributes to additional challenges that Indigenous people face when it comes to equal coverage of MMIR and other related issues. It is truly devastating to lose another life to violence. There are no words to fully express the pain of a parent losing a child in a violent way. As Indigenous peoples, we understand too well the ugly, ongoing nature of violence across this land and upon our people through our lived experiences. It’s been happening since the advent of colonization. Missing and murdered Indigenous relatives deserve the same attention and resources that society, the media and the justice system have given to Gabby Petito’s case. Their lives are important. As partner organizations in the effort to provide support and advocate for Indigenous women and peoples impacted by domestic violence, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and sexual violence, we honor all individuals, families and communities impacted by MMIR and all those working so diligently to end this crisis of violence.
Your body. Your sovereignty.— strongheartsdv (@strongheartsdv) September 29, 2021
If you have experienced sexual violence we are here to listen.
Safe. Anonymous. Free. Confidential.
Call, text or chat 24/7 | 1-844-762-8483 | https://t.co/6NAfra9Vhb #SA #SexualViolence #Native #AlaskaNative #AbuseisNeverok #DV pic.twitter.com/wkhpSdekII
● Educate yourself on the high rates of violence in our Indigenous communities and other communities of color, as well as community-based solutions ● Engage with media about MMIR
○ Send emails, make phone calls, comment on articles, send letters to editors, etc.
○ StrongHearts Native Helpline
○ National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
○ Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center
○ National Congress of American Indians
○ Sovereign Bodies Institute
○ Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence
○ Indian Law Resource Center
○ Urban Indian Health Institute
○ Rising Hearts Coalition
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