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.
Paul Knepper, professor and chair of Central’s Department of Law and Justice, announced that an MMIW lecture will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the theater of the Student Union and Recreation Center, 400 E. University Way in Ellensburg.
The lecture is open to the public and will include Emily Washines, a scholar of the Yakama Nation; state Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale; and Lottie A. Sam, a member of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council and its MMIW Committee.
The MMIW Memorial Service will begin at 2 p.m. in Dean Hall, at the Museum of Culture & Environment. Representatives of MMIW USA, an organization dedicated to helping missing and murdered Native women and their families and create awareness, will attend to assist with the memorial service.
Events that day will connect historic and current issues related to missing and murdered indigenous women.
Washines researches and speaks on the historical aspects of missing and murdered Native women on the Yakama reservation, with particular emphasis on women and girls who were raped and murdered in the years leading up to the Yakama War of 1855-58.
Mosbrucker sponsored Washington House Bill 2951, which requires the State Patrol to work with the Office of Indian Affairs, federally recognized tribes, tribal and other law enforcement and tribal leaders to determine how to increase reporting and investigation of missing Native American women.
The legislation also requires the state to collect data, for the first time, on the numbers of missing Native women.
Sam and fellow Tribal Council and MMIW Committee members Charlene Tillequots, Athena Sanchey-Yallup and Esther Moses-Hyipeer joined Mosbrucker and Washington State Patrol Capt. Monica Alexander in leading an Oct. 29 meeting in Yakima on missing Native women.
All spoke at that meeting, which was one of several that have taken place throughout the state as a result of Washington House Bill 2951. Another is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday in the events center of Legends Casino, 580 Fort Road, Toppenish.
HB 2951 requires the State Patrol to report the results of its study, which Alexander is preparing, to the Legislature by June 1. This must include data and analysis on the number of missing Native American women in the state, identification of barriers in providing state resources to address the issue, and recommendations to improve safety and reporting.
The legislative session begins Monday.