At 5 p.m. Sunday, May 5, we will gather in downtown Vashon for a prayer vigil and information sharing for the National Day of Awareness around the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and relatives. This will be followed at 6 p.m. by an Indian taco/potluck dinner a the Land Trust Building. All are welcome.
In 2018, a report was released called “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: A snapshot of data from 71 urban cities in the United States.” Seattle was number one of the top 10 cities with the highest number of missing indigenous women and girls at 45. Tacoma was number seven with 25. This report displayed the main factors behind these statistics: poor data keeping by law enforcement; uneven, racist media coverage, and a largely ignorant populace who often are racist and dismissive as well. An attempt was made by the authors, Abigail Echo-Hawk and Annita Lucchesi, to gather data from 1900, but they were only able to find the earliest case in 1943. Two-thirds of the cases were from 2010 to 2018. This indicates there are many more cases than they were able to find.
As citizens in this region, it should be of grave concern to anyone who cares about the well-being of our community members that such shocking numbers are found in both of our closest urban centers. Murder is the third leading cause of death among Indian women and girls, who are 10 times more likely to experience violence than white women. This issue has been one of my life’s focuses for over 20 years, but until I saw this report I had no idea that Seattle and Tacoma had such shocking numbers. It is a very important report that I encourage everyone to find online and read.
— Swaneagle Fitzgerald