Monday meeting on issue of missing Native women in Washington state taking place at Yakima Convention Center

Walkers in a nationwide journey calling for an end to drug abuse and domestic violence in Indian Country arrived at the Yakama Reservation in early March. They gathered near the Yakama Nation sign and offered prayers and hope that people would turn away from drugs and alcohol instead of turning to them. Roxanne White also sang a song in honor of missing and murdered indigenous women. She and other women clad in red held the #MMIW banner.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A meeting Monday afternoon on the issue of missing Native women in Washington state will take place in Yakima.

The meeting hosted by Washington State Patrol Capt. Monica Alexander and Craig Bill, director of the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, is set from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Yakima Convention Center, 10 N. Eighth St.

Officials had planned to hold the meeting in the event center at Legends Casino in Toppenish but changed the venue a couple weeks ago to ensure there would be enough room, said Lacey Ledford, Alexander’s assistant. Alexander is the legislative liaison for the State Patrol.

“We hope for a good turnout,” she said.

It is among several meetings happening around the state as a result of 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.

The State Patrol must report the results of its study 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.

Another meeting will take place in Shelton on Nov. 8 at the Little Creek Casino, Sa-Heh-WA-Mish Room, 91 West State Route 108.