TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is showing its support for Missing or Murdered Indigenous People throughout the month of May.
According to the Cherokee Nation, May is National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Month, May 5 being the National Day of Awareness of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. unveiled a tribute at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex on Friday to shed light on the astonishing statistics that unfairly affect Native people, including women and girls.
Officials say the tribe’s stand for justice includes numerous displays throughout the reservation in May featuring red Cherokee tear dresses and ribbon shirt as part of the national Red Dress Project.
“Today we pause to recognize the National Day of Awareness for Missing or Murdered Indigenous People and bring awareness to this tragic statistic that plagues our country,” Chief Hoskin said.
“For years, homicide has been one of the leading causes of death for Native women and people and as tribes we must come together to end this violence and protect our mothers, sisters and daughters and all Natives who are missing. The work is not easy, but I assure you it has already begun here in the Cherokee Nation. We continue to expand our ONE FIRE Victim Services office, hired more marshals and prosecutors to protect victims and prosecute those who commit crimes and have assigned an MMIP investigator to cases in our reservation. We will continue on this front.”
Additional displays will premier on May 12 at the Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center in Vinita and on May 19 at the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah, the tribe says.
A special display hosted by the Cherokee Nation with be held on Tuesday, May 23, to represent the cases of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People within the Cherokee Nation. The display will be at the Cherokee Springs Gallery in Tahlequah and will be up until May 27.
The tribe says visitors are encouraged to take their picture with the displays and share them on social media with the hashtags #MMIW, #MMIWG, #MMIP.
“Cherokee Nation has the power and responsibility to protect its people. Our fight to bring home our missing is how we honor the legacy of the ones we’ve lost, and we will continue to invest in the best resources,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “We hope the public will join us in our efforts to end the silence, acknowledge this ongoing crisis, and take a step toward healing in our Native communities.”