Murdered and Missing
04-05 October 2019
The Blackfeet Tribunal
Two Days of Public & Private Testimony
04-05 Oct 2019
The Blackfeet Nation will host the first Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) tribunal in the US over the weekend of October 4-5th based from the Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Montana, plus other venues in town as needed.
The two-day Blackfeet MMIW Tribunal will record public testimony from MMIW survivors and victims’ families, as well as providing private sessions for witnesses who may be hesitant to share their accounts in a public forum.
“We welcome witnesses from the Four Directions to attend and share their experiences. This is not just a Blackfeet or Montana tribes’ tragedy, it is an Indian Country tragedy, and a national and international disgrace. This is a multi-generational epidemic the federal government has done nothing to address – even less than the Canadian government – which was found to be complicit in ‘deliberate race, identity and gender-based genocide’ by its own National Inquiry into MMIW,”
Chairman Tim Davis of the Blackfeet Nation.
MMIW in Montana
Tribal members constitute 7% of Montana's population, but the state identifies some 26% of missing persons as Native American, and that may be a low estimate. Last year's Urban Indian Health report identified Montana as the state with the 5th highest incidence of MMIW cases.
MMIW - the Blackfeet Nation
The Blackfeet Nation is uniquely positioned to host this first of its kind MMIW tribunal in the lower-48 as a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy; the Blackfeet’s three sister tribes, the Piikani, Blood and Siksika, are located in Alberta, Canada.
“The truth is that we live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of basic human and Indigenous rights. These violations amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people,”
Chief Commissioner Marion Buller,
Reclaiming Power and Place, the final report of Canada’s National Inquiry into MMIWG published on June 3.
“We are not divided by the border we are united in our grief. Many women and children stolen from our communities are trafficked back and forth between the US and Canada,”
MMIW across the U.S.
In 2016 alone, 5712 Native women were reported missing of murdered. Now we have lost count.
The MMIW Crisis
What is being done legislatively?
The Blackfeet MMIW Tribunal is being held in conjunction with the Global Indigenous Council (GIC) and is endorsed by the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC). The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council credits the work of both organizations in partnership with the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) in raising the profile of the MMIW tragedy and the GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance’s relentless efforts to secure meaningful MMIW legislation on Capitol Hill (www.mmiw-gic.com). Many of the recommendations petitioned for by the alliance are reflected in MMIW bills introduced in the 116th Congress, including the BADGES Act, the Not Invisible Act, Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act, and the 2019 Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. The alliance submitted amendments to Savanna’s Act that were supported by the bill’s original sponsor, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and garnered bipartisan backing in the House and Senate.
The GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance worked closely with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) on the Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act which directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full review of how federal agencies respond to reports of missing and murdered Native Americans and to recommend solutions based on their findings. Since passage in the House, the GAO has committed to undertake the review without further legislative action. Senator Tester expressed his dismay at federal law enforcement’s failures to adequately respond to the MMIW epidemic during last December’s Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing into the crisis.
Event in conjuction with
Ashley Loring Heavy Runner
You may know something about Ashley Loring Heavy Runner?
ASHLEY WENT MISSING JUNE 12, 2017, on the Blackfeet Nation.
“Unfortunately Ashley's story is not unique, but the same as many
other MMIW. Ashley has dreams and she had goals; being a
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman was not one of them.
Don't forget Ashley - remember her name.
Ashley Loring Heavy Runner is important.
Our people are important.
Kimberley Loring Heavy Runner (Ashley's sister) testifying at the
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Dec, 2018