(KPAX) Thursday, May 5th marked the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
It’s a crisis that is plaguing Montana where Native Americans are four times more likely to go missing.
MMIP Montana — a database for missing people in Indian Country — also reports that 84% of Indigenous women have experienced physical violence in their lifetime.
- RELATED: Gov. Gianforte proclaims ‘MMIP Awareness Day’
- RELATED: Helena Indian Alliance calls attention to MMIP in Montana
A group gathered at the University of Montana on Thursday evening to raise awareness in an effort to combat these statistics. People gathered near the Payne Family Native American Center to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
May 5th would have been missing Cheyenne woman Hanna Harris‘ 30th birthday. She was found murdered in Lame Deer in 2013.
Entering its seventh year, Thursday’s event at the University of Montana aimed to raise educational awareness about the MMIP crisis and its impacts. Organizer Lauren Small Rodriguez told MTN News the ongoing crisis impacts the entire state of Montana.
“It’s not only just awareness but also highlighting that gap, and the gap is the direct services for these families,” she said.
Families with missing and murdered loved ones came out — including the family of missing Missoula-area woman Jermain Charlo.
“Don’t forget their names, don’t let them be lost, don’t let them be forgotten,” Small Rodriquez said.
Kaysera Stops Pretty Places was murdered in Broadwater County in 2019 and her aunt, Anya Means, told MTN News that she’s still waiting for justice.
“For people to care. We want for it to mean something. That she mattered,” Means said.
Additional information and resources about Montana’s MMIP crisis can be found at https://mmipmt.com/.