MMIWR to be remembered with walk on MMIP Awareness Day
The epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, relatives, and their families will be remembered here Friday.
Two years ago, President Joe Biden designated May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day to recognize Native American and Alaska Native people who have lost their lives to violence.
To recall those who have been lost and to show respect to their families, the president’s office and the family of Laverda Guy-Sorrel will sponsor a walk of remembrance beginning at 3 p.m. May 5.
The walk will begin at the Window Rock Unified School District Veterans Memorial Field House and end at the Window Rock Veterans Park.
At 6 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil and listening session. Among those attending will be President Buu Nygren, Vice President Richelle Montoya, Council Delegate Amber Kanazabah Crotty, Police Chief Darryl Noon, and FBI Victim Specialist Honor Fisher.
Thousands of Native families across the country are left without reasons or answers about what happened to their relatives who disappeared, were mysteriously murdered, or why,” Nygren said. “When a child, a parent, or dear friend is the victim of a kidnapping or human trafficking, nothing in life kills the spirit to live within those left behind. Nothing leaves as much trauma in the hearts of families and children.”
He said throughout the 2022 presidential campaign, he and Montoya repeatedly stated they would dedicate their administration to listening to the voices of Navajo victims’ families and raise “our” own to bring greater attention to the horror of MMIP and MMIR.
“As we listen, we will acknowledge with compassion what these families say,” Nygren said. “We will validate with empathy what they feel. We will give comfort wherever we can. We are at a point when the entire country and almost every state government acknowledges there is a rising wave of violence against Native women and girls in every city, in every town, throughout Indian Country, and here across the Navajo Nation.”
John Tsosie, Nygren’s MMIW-MMIP advisor, said the plan is to continue listening to sessions with either Nygren or Montoya and the families directly impacted.
“It’s important for our office because the families that have been directly impacted for a very long time said they felt like nothing was being done, or their voices weren’t being heard,” Tsosie said.
He said the Four Corners Canine Search and Rescue Team from Farmington and Apache Country Sheriff’s Department Drone Unit Operator Bo Hounshell will be on hand to describe their office’s work.
Tsosie said the walk is about 7 miles. He advises people to dress appropriately for the weather. A shuttle will be available for those who need assistance.