According to a recent study, Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than all other ethnicities.
That’s why dozens gathered in Minot today gathered to bring awareness to the issue one step at a time.
Organizer Dusty Jackson said, “Today we are having our annual walk for missing and murdered indigenous women.”
The walk is in its third year and Jackson, who is the MHA Nation Community Outreach Director in Minot, helped spearhead it.
“Native Americans tend to be overlooked or invisible and we are not invisible, we are still here,” Jackson said.
That sense of invisibility that she feels is well documented.
According to the National Institute of Justice, more than 5,000 indigenous women are known to have gone missing, but only 116 of them have been logged into the Department of Justice database.
Jackson says those numbers don’t sit right with her.
“There’s thousands of cases out there that have never been solved and that’s somebody’s sister, somebody’s mother, somebody’s aunt, somebody’s loved one and the reason we have this is so that we raise awareness that everybody does count,” Jackson said.
The walk today at Oak Park in Minot brought out more than a few dozen people to help raise that awareness.
One woman in attendance says this event truly hits home.
“My daughter, which I mentioned the last time I was at this walk when she was about 16 we were at a Pow Wow in New Town and she went to use the restroom and I was literally so many feet away, but it was dark, and she came out of there and somebody grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth,” Attendee Lisa Redford said.
Thankfully her daughter was okay, but she says it brings the reality of these events to life.
she says, “It’s to heighten the awareness of the public. A lot of people don’t know and it’s not talked about. It’s silent.”
But over the course of the last several years, that silence has slowly broken as state lawmakers continue to navigate equality for indigenous people and raise awareness statewide.
“It’s historic having the changes made even though some of them are a little bit too late because of people from the past that have not been able to be here to be a part of it, but especially for our youth and for our people, the indigenous people, we want to be known that we are still here and we are still alive,” Jackson said.
And events like these she says have an impact.
Jackson says her hope is to continue growing the community walk in years to come.