North Dakota recognizes Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day with proclamation

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May 5 is officially Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day.

Gov. Doug Burgum signed the proclamation declaring the day Tuesday afternoon.

All day Wednesday, members of the tribal community hosted events in the Capital City to acknowledge the importance.

With about 39,000 Indigenous people living in the Peace Garden State, Indigenous people are more likely to be human trafficked than the general population.

The signing of this proclamation is being called by some people a step in the right direction.

“We know we still have a lot of work to do yet for that. But I think with him signing the proclamation it makes other entities kind of have to step up, like whether you’re a state or organization within the state,” said Sheridan McNeil.

People came together beginning with a sunrise prayer, moving to a ceremony at the Heritage Center and ending with a march on the Capitol grounds.

Karen Lynn Sylva, who attended the event, says it was her own experience that opened her eyes.

“I was unaware of any of this MMIW until my daughter went missing. And then when I was in touch with Swan, Sheri. They kind of brought light to that is something that’s really going on,” said Sylva.

For years, people like Lissa Yellowbird-Chase have been the boots on the ground working to bring attention to the cause.

“Making these proclamations and these other efforts to give some attention to a much-needed cause, finding justice, finding our people and just being inclusive of marginalized communities as well,” said Yellowbird-Chase.

The proclamation signed encourages all North Dakotans to prevent further tragedies and promote healing to demonstrate solidarity with the families of victims.

“We can’t stop. It’s just this constant push forward. So you know we need everyone’s support in this. Whether your an individual or organization,” said McNeil.

May 5 is also National Missing and Murder Indigenous Women Awareness Day.

Across the nation, there were events going on helping raise awareness.

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