WAPATO, Wash. — An event supporting the families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The MMIWG Healing Together Vigil, hosted by Roxanne White and Cissy Strong Reyes, is happening at The Campbell Farm, 2527 Campbell Road, near Wapato. It was rescheduled to Saturday because of the extreme winter weather the week before.
Like other vigils across Indian Country for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, this gathering will provide a safe, supportive space for affected families.
Those who want memorial altars for their loved ones are asked to RSVP and come early, around 11:30 a.m., to set them up. Volunteers are welcome.
Organizers recognize the epidemic of violence also has taken children and men, and all families are welcome. The exact number of missing and murdered people on the Yakama reservation is unknown.
The event is free. Proceeds from an Indian taco sale beginning at noon will help fund the reward that Rosenda Sophia Strong’s family plans to offer for information about her whereabouts or location.
Strong’s sister and cousin are hosting the event. Strong, 31, was last seen Oct. 2 by family when she left with a friend in an older Nissan car to go to Legends Casino in Toppenish.
She is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and a descendant of the Yakama Nation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933 regarding case number 18-010803.
Details of Saturday’s vigil are follows:
Noon — Indian taco sale with all proceeds going to the reward fund for information on the whereabouts of Strong. Honorary cook is Dorothy Miller.
1 p.m. — Opening Drum, Northwest Medicine Horse. Gerald George, Guy Gregg.
Opening prayer by elder Ne'sha Jackson
1:30 p.m. — Introductions
1:45 p.m.— Missing and murdered indigenous relatives presentation and group activity.
2 p.m. — Groups present
2:30 p.m. — Organizers will be offering an optional ceremonial talking circle for those who want to participate.
Art build and poster making. Supporters will have limited supplies of these items; guests are encouraged to bring some as well: poster boards; acrylic paint in red/white; paintbrushes; scissors; glue sticks; copies of photos of your missing or murdered indigenous relative and clear tape, masking or packing.
3:30 p.m. — Open mic, families first, then open to the community.
4:30 p.m. — Missing and murdered indigenous relatives memorial table exhibit acknowledgement.
5 p.m. — Light candles and a #SayHerName #SayHisName Ceremony. Organizers need proper permission from a direct family member to say the names.
5:30 p.m. — Cleanup