Crime Victims Services recognizes Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women #MMIW
Photos by Seneca Media
Seneca Nation Crime Victim Services held a series of events to honor and recognize Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) between the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. More than 100 community members came out for the Community Social and Dinner at the Cattaraugus Community-Center (CCC) on May 5th. A 5K walk/run was held on May 6th, also at the CCC. A coloring sheet was shared with the community and displayed at the event. Staff also handed out lawn signs for community members to display in solidarity and awareness.
“Skirts of Unity” were worn during the social as the community came together as one. “The skirts were hand crafted and traded as a joint healing effort from five different Nations throughout Hodinöshö:ni Territory. The Tonawanda Seneca Nation, the Tuscarora Nation, the Onondaga Nation, the Mohawk Nation – Akwesasne Territory and the Seneca Nation of Indians came together in a show of unity, solidarity and support. We are in this fight together to keep our women safe,” explains Sharon Francis, Program Coordinator, Crime Victims Services.
MMIW began as a grassroots effort due to the high rates of missing and murdered indigenous women of Turtle Island. This movement brings awareness to the many missing mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins and friends that didn’t make it home and hopes to end violence against indigenous women.
As Hodinöshö:ni’ people, we are a matrilineal society and it is our tradition beginning with the Creation Story and Sky Woman, to honor women as sacred beings and life givers. Women are the heart and soul of our communities; they provide life, love, education, warmth and of course laughter. They form our identity early on from a long line of strong resilient ancestors.
Red is a powerful color, and is worn by the movement to bring attention to the crisis of MMIW. Red shirts were given to participants that danced in the social. Music was provided by the Old Bridge Singers.
On May 5th, Seneca Nation Executives, Councillors and employees wore red in observance of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Day of Awareness.
“Countless indigenous women, mothers, daughters and sisters across the United States and Canada have gone missing or have fallen victim to violence. Many have been murdered or remain missing to this day. In fact, in the United States, indigenous women are more than twice as likely to experience violence than any other demographic. Nya:wëh for gathering with us as one community to raise awareness for those indigenous women taken from their families, their homes and their communities. Nya:wëh for showing your support in the on going fight to protect Native people everywhere,” shared President Matthew B. Pagels.
Check out the video below featuring the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Community Social 2022
Produced by Seneca Media & Communications Center
#NoMoreStolenSisters #MMIW #MissingMurderedIndigenousWomen
POLICY INITIATIVES AND LANDMARKS
May 5, 2019 – The White House proclamation officially designated as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.
2019 – Executive Order 13898, a/k/a Operation Lady Justice, creates a task force for missing and murdered AI/AN peoples that will address the concerns of Indigenous communities in the U.S., such as data collection, policies, establish cold-case teams, and improve investigative responses.
2020 – Savanna’s Act became law and requires the Department of Justice to review, revise and develop policies and protocols to address MMIP cases.
2021 – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) announced the formation of the Missing and Murdered Unit that will focus on analyzing and solving missing and murdered Indigenous peoples (MMIP) cases.