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The MMIW Movement: Empowering Indigenous Communities and Advocating for Justice

Owens+Campus+made+a+banners+of+red+handprints+to+advocate+for+Missing+and+Murdered+Indigenous+Women+the+week+of+October+12.+This+banner+can+be+seen+outside+of+the+Owens+Toledo-area+Campus+Library.
Owens Campus made a banners of red handprints to advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women the week of October 12. This banner can be seen outside of the Owens Toledo-area Campus Library.

The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW) is a deeply disturbing crisis affecting Indigenous communities globally. To shed light on the MMIW movement, its goals, and the urgent need for justice and systemic change by highlighting the movement’s key objectives and the efforts taken by activists, organizations, and communities, we can better understand the significance of this movement and the impact it is having on Indigenous communities.

The MMIW crisis refers to the disproportionately high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, their families’ struggles for justice, and the widespread failure of law enforcement agencies to properly address these issues. Indigenous women face a myriad of risk factors, including poverty, systemic racism, gender-based violence, and human trafficking, all contributing to this crisis. The MMIW movement seeks to raise awareness, provide support to affected families, and advocate for policy changes to prevent further injustices.

The MMIW movement is driven by several overarching goals that revolve around raising awareness, seeking justice, and promoting healing within Indigenous communities. These goals include:

  1. Increased Awareness: One of the primary objectives is to raise public awareness about the MMIW crisis, dismantling stereotypes and highlighting the alarming statistics and personal stories behind the issue. Through rallies, marches, social media campaigns, and educational initiatives, the movement aims to ensure that the voices of missing and murdered Indigenous women and their families are not silenced.
  2. Justice and Accountability: The movement demands justice for the victims and their families by urging law enforcement agencies to take the necessary steps to investigate each case rigorously. Having strong supporters like the MMIW movement have done research showing what it’s really like with the law enforcement. “The National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing person database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases”(National Crime Information Center). It also seeks accountability in addressing the systemic issues that perpetuate violence against indigenous women, including better training for law enforcement officers, eliminating jurisdictional barriers, and allocating resources to prevent and respond to violence.
  3. Policy Reform: Advocates within the MMIW movement strive to influence legislation and policy changes that address the underlying factors contributing to the MMIW crisis. The movement aims to strengthen laws against domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault while promoting informed policymaking that respects and involves indigenous communities in decision-making processes.

The MMIW movement has achieved significant milestones in raising public awareness and pressuring governments to address this crisis. As shown here written by Native Hope, they share what it means to them in order to help. “A red hand over the mouth has become the symbol of a growing movement, the MMIW movement. It stands for all the missing sisters whose voices are not heard. It stands for the silence of the media and law enforcement in the midst of this crisis. It stands for the oppression and subjugation of Native women who are now rising up to say #NoMoreStolenSisters.” It has successfully prompted governments to launch national inquiries, producing reports that acknowledge the systemic failures and the urgent need for change. Furthermore, the movement has played a pivotal role in putting pressure on corporations involved in the resource extraction industry, forcing them to adopt measures to protect Indigenous women and their lands.

Additionally, the movement has given a voice to the families of victims, empowering them to connect, share their experiences, and support one another. Virtual and physical memorials, healing circles, and support networks have been established to ensure that the loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women are not forgotten. These efforts have provided an avenue for healing, awareness, and long-overdue justice within Indigenous communities.

The MMIW movement is undeniably an important catalyst for change and healing within indigenous communities. By advocating for justice, raising awareness, and pushing for policy reform, this movement sheds light on the alarming rates of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Through community support, increased public awareness, and collective action, we can hope to see a future where Indigenous women and girls are safe, protected, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Online platforms and websites dedicated to the MMIW movement are excellent starting points for anyone who has thoughts or questions. Numerous organizations and advocacy groups have established websites, providing a wealth of information, statistics, and personal stories. These websites offer comprehensive resources explaining the history and ongoing struggles faced by indigenous women. There is one website is dedicated to the facts and the Red Hand Movement.

This year’s BIG Read, Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen, explores the memoir of an indigenous woman.  For more information on the BIG Read, visit their website.

 

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