New Washington State alert addresses high rate of missing indigenous people

A first-of-its-kind alert system for missing indigenous women and people was signed into law in Washington state in March 2022. The system helps distribute information about missing Native Americans much like an AMBER Alert. Washington has the second-highest number of missing indigenous people in the U.S.

U.S. and Canada tribes spotlight Missing Indigenous Women Awareness Day

Tribal leaders and other U.S and Canadian public officials recognized National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness (MMIW) Day on May 5.

  • Hundreds of Yakama Nation members gathered in Toppenish, Washington, to share stories and pray. They marched with signs reading “No more lost sisters.”
  • The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe held a march in Kitsap, Washington, to bring awareness to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women.
  • In Madison, Wisconsin, members of state tribes gathered for MMIW Day at the state capitol and read the names of all missing indigenous women who have been found dead in the state. “This epidemic of missing and murdered Native women and girls must stop,” said Shannon Holsey, president of the Stockbridge Munsee Community, one of the state’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations.
  • South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued a proclamation for MMIW Day. Noem highlighted the actions she has taken to address the ongoing crisis, including establishing investigation procedures for missing Native women, creating a missing person clearinghouse, and developing and fully funding the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.
  • In Saskatchewan, Canada, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) also declared May 5 as National Red Dress Day to encourage protections for tribal members from all forms of violence. “Our First Nations women and girls must be protected from the unacceptable levels of violence experienced in Canadian society and our communities,” said Chief Bobby Cameron.