There are a few different variations to describe the crisis that is Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, MMIP. It's sad that we have to change it up to include the many different Indigenous people in the U.S., Montana, and our communities who are murdered or go missing each week. It began as MMIWomen, then MMIWGirls, but I feel like the most inclusive is MMIP or MMIR, which is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives. This 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.

Tveraa Photography Billboard 2

In the U.S., May 5th is recognized as a "National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native American Women and Girls." In Missoula, we will be teaming up with Project Beacon and Missoula's YWCA for a candlelight vigil and words from the families of the missing and murdered from 5 to 8 p.m. at the U of M. I will fill you in on details when they are complete.

Phil at Altered Skin has offered up his talents for 50 free tattoos of the red handprint that has become recognized as a symbol of support for MMIP. We do ask that you tip to cover the cost of materials as Phil has been generous in donating his time and talent. The tattoos will be done from noon to 5 at Altered Skin, ahead of the candlelight vigil from 5 to 8 p.m. on campus. Jen, a Native American photographer of Tveraa Photography, arranged for the free tattoos while completing her "Murdered Missing Indigenous Women" photo series which has spawned a photo book and awareness billboards all over Montana. See some of her work below.

To receive a free tattoo, email Jen at TveraaPhotography@gmail.com and let her know why getting the tattoo is important to you. She will email 50 tickets out for freebies. If you'd like to make an appointment to pay for a red handprint tat, Phil can be reached at 549-8544.

Photos From Missoula's MMIWG Awareness Walk