In the U.S., May 5th is recognized as a "National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native American Women and Girls." Here in Missoula, we will be teaming up with Project Beacon, Missoula's YWCA, and many others for a candlelight vigil and words from the families of Montana's missing and murdered from 7 to 9:30 p.m. this Wednesday, May 5th, at the UM Oval. Main Hall and the "M" will be lit up in the color red to recognize the day and to help spread awareness of the MMIW crisis. The event is free, open to the public & media, and supplies will be provided. The event will begin at the Payne Native American Center and firepit, and end at the Oval. CSKT elder Myrna Dumontier will provide the blessing, and CSKT Tribal Leadership will share an update of their Tribal Community Response Plan (TCRP) protocol for missing persons and tribal law enforcement, and guidelines for law enforcement agencies, victim services, community involvement and communications. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out, angel@963theblaze.com

Last week, in a meeting to sign two MMIP bills into law in Montana, the following tragic facts were shared.

*In Montana Native Americans make up about 7% of the population, but they account for 26% of missing persons.

*Between 2017 and 2019, nearly 80% of those reported missing were teenagers younger than 18 years of age.

*Native American women face a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average, and 84% experienced some form of violence in their lifetime.

As a family that has experienced our sad share of missing and murdered friends and relatives, we are encouraged that Montanans are taking notice and law makers are embracing solutions. HUGE thank you and recognition to the following groups for making sure Missoula recognized this very important day: Project Beacon, Missoula YWCA, Student Advocate Resource Center at the U of M, CSKT, Payne Family Native American Center,  American Indian Student Services, Montana ACLU, Crime Victim Advocates, Partnership Health Center, Poverello, ZACC, and Indigenous Vision.

Photos From Missoula's MMIWG Awareness Walk