On Nov. 16, a panel on missing and murdered indigenous women was held virtually by Pierce College to raise awareness about the native women, two-spirits and men who go missing and are murdered at a higher rate than other ethnic groups in America. The panel was hosted by Ashley Good, the retention support mentor for native and indigenous students at Pierce.
The presentation was the second that Good has hosted at Pierce since becoming aware of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement. During the presentation, a short documentary was shown to inform people about the tribes in Washington and their experience with the loss of a murdered or missing indigenous friend or family member. After the video, participants of the panel shared something new they had learned and Good discussed ways to help.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is a movement led by native women that looks to find justice for those who’ve been murdered. Additionally, the group spreads awareness through social media to promote public awareness and advocacy to help find those who are missing.
According to the Native Women’s Society, indigenous women go missing and are murdered at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in America. An article by the Indian Law found that indigenous women are murdered 10 times more than the national average. The Native Women’s Wilderness stated that in 2016 there were 5,712 known incidents of missing and murdered Native American women.
“Native women are not seen as valued, we’re seen as objects and that is shown through the way that we’re treated,” said Good.
Good began holding club meetings, an open mic, events and a missing and murdered indigenous women panel in order to help spread awareness of the issue.
Currently, there are cases in Pierce County of missing and murdered indigenous women, two-spirits and men. Arron Garcia, a member of the Puyallup Tribal Council, went missing on Aug. 1. Sierrah Roberts went missing in Tacoma on Aug. 9, 2018. Garcia and Roberts are two amongst many missing and murdered indigenous people in the state of Washington.
Good discussed how cases of murdered or missing Native Americans don’t show up on the news as often as other ethnic or racial groups do and that taking advantage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to share information as well as ongoing cases can help spread advocacy.
“Because we’re not represented in the media, we have to do it ourselves,” said Good.
A way to spread awareness and advocacy for missing and murdered indigenous women is through social media. There are accounts dedicated to spreading awareness regarding specific cases of missing and murdered indigenous women. Along with this, there are abbreviated hashtags, such as #MMIW, that people can follow the movement and learn more information through.
“Our power has been taken away from us and it is not acceptable. It is from being objectified, it is through colonization, it is because people want to gain power over us but they cannot do that,” said Good, “and no matter how many missing and murdered indigenous women there are, we still have worth but they don’t see that and they’re trying to take it away but they can’t.”
Following and sharing the information from the Instagram accounts @mmiwwashington and @mmiwhoismissing can help increase advocacy for the missing and murdered indigenous women movement. To be updated on future events, the Office of Student Life posts information about upcoming events on their Instagram page, @Puy_OSL.
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