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May 5th marks National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day

Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day
U.S. Department of the Interior

May 5th is National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. A resolution was passed in 2017 designating a National Day of Awareness. It was formalized by President Biden in 2021.

May 5 is the birthday of Hannah Harris, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who went missing in 2013 and was found days later raped and murdered.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center took up her case and appealed to Montana’s congressional delegation to bring awareness to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people.

In the U.S., Indigenous women and girls go missing and are murdered at disproportionately high rates. According to the Urban Indian Health Institute, homicide is the third-leading cause of death among Native American women, who also face rates of violence up to 10 times higher than the national average.

The Washington Post reports that in 2016, the National Crime Information Center logged 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls. However, only 116 cases were entered in the Department of Justice’s federal missing persons database. T

The White House issued a proclamation Thursday remembering victims and their families. President Biden said the federal government is obligated to ensure cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people are met with “swift and effective action.”