Native American women and girls know their heritage puts them at risk. They tell each other to take care. They all know it is easy for someone to take them and kill them and get away with it.
Preyed upon by attackers, rapists and killers familiar with the empty reaches of reservations, the patchwork of jurisdictions, the disregard of some and the silence of others, they are in danger just for being a Native woman or girl.
The statistics are grim.
A report from the National Institute of Justice found that more than four out of five Native American women have experienced violence in their lives. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control reported that homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native American women between the ages of 10 and 24. The Department of Justice has reported Native American women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than other Americans.
On the 1.3-million-acre Yakama Reservation, women have passed down stories from as far back as the mid-1800s of rape and murder by miners, by soldiers, by other outsiders. The passage of time does not diminish the terror of these assaults, which continue today.
No one knows exactly how many Native girls and women have gone missing on or near the Yakama reservation.
Many cases of missing people or mysterious deaths of women and men remain unsolved. During an FBI investigation spurred by rumors of a serial killer, investigators found as many as 32 cases dating back to 1980.
But some women are ending their silence. What has been known and considered normal is no longer tolerable.
They want action.
The work has begun, but it’s a steep climb. There is virtually no record of exactly how many indigenous women are missing in Washington and the United States. Legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2018 is designed to find ways of better reporting and investigating cases of missing Native women, and other states are following suit.
Much work still needs to be done to protect Native women, and many questions must be answered. It’s a start, supporters say ̶ a start that encourages those who still wonder what happened to their loved ones and hope to save others.
They are missing and murdered Native women and girls, mothers and grandmothers, daughters and sisters, aunties, friends.
They have names. They have stories. And they are no longer invisible.
Dozens of women have disappeared in and around the Yakama reservation
For families a long search and a lonely vigil, with little help.
One effort to make sure the state starts to pay attention to this problem.
What to know and who to call if someone you know vanishes.
Two bills addressing murdered and missing Indigenous women co-sponsored by Washington lawmakers have been signed into law.
A new fund at the Yakima Valley Community Foundation will support the work of a Yakama advocate for missing and murdered indigenous women as she seeks justice and healing for families and communities.
PABLO, Mont. — Attorney General William Barr announced a nationwide plan Friday to address the crisis of missing and slain indigenous people as concerns mount over the level of violence they face.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Stressing again the physical and sexual violence Native women have suffered for decades, members of a Senate committee unanimously passed legislation created to combat the epidemic of murdered and missing indigenous women.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of Congress spent an hour on the House floor on Wednesday talking about ways to deliver justice to Native American women who face disproportionately high rates of murder, as well as physical and sexual violence.U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Sunnyside, a…
A Yakima Valley legislator honored a missing Native woman whose body was recently found near Toppenish, urging congressional action on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women throughout the United States.
A woman who reached a plea agreement with prosecutors for her role in the March 2016 murder of a Harrah woman will be sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Yakima.
WAPATO, Wash. — The family of a Wapato woman who has been missing since early October is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to her location.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers in at least seven states have introduced legislation to address the unsolved deaths and disappearances of numerous Native American women and girls.
WAPATO, Wash. — A Lower Valley event created to support the families of missing and murdered indigenous women will happen a week later than originally planned because of the extreme winter weather.
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Central Washington University will highlight the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women on Tuesday with a series of presentations and a memorial.
YAKIMA, Wash. — As more than 400 people marched through downtown Yakima on Saturday, the names of missing and murdered Yakama Nation women echoed off the buildings.
TOPPENISH, Wash. — They already know that stemming the epidemic of missing and murdered Native women is daunting. They are well aware of the grim toll it has taken, because many have lost loved ones and friends.
The sister of a missing Blackfeet woman in Montana expressed frustration Wednesday over law enforcement's initial response to her loved one's disappearance, telling U.S. senators that numerous Native American families are troubled by inadequate investigations into their missing persons cases.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Numerous police departments nationwide are not adequately identifying or reporting cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls as concerns mount over the level of violence they often face, according to a study released by a Native American nonprofit Wednesday.