The Tulalip Tribes hosted Washington state activists for their second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Walk on May 10.
Jade Carela, member of the Tulalip Tribes, director of the Legacy of Healing Children’s Advocacy Center and one of the organizers of the walk, said that the high rate of missing and murdered women on reservations has been going on in the country for many years.
“It’s been something prevalent in Indian country but it’s never gotten attention,” she said. “It’s happened within our own community and it happens with every reservation.”
However, Carela said that the issue doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
“We do have missing and murdered indigenous women that people just never cared about, it was just brushed under the rug like it was another day,” she said.
She hopes that events like the walk can help others see some of the issues that need fixing.
“Personally, as a Native American woman, we need to bring more awareness to issues we face on reservations and as Indian people,” she said.
“By being able to hold an event like this, that’s exactly what it’s doing,” she said.
To help raise awareness Tulalip hosted a group of regional Native American activists for the second year.
“There’s a group of women that have a coalition and reach out to all the tribes about their walk from Olympia all the way to Blaine,” said Carela.
One of those women is Earth-Feather Sovereign, of the Colville Confederated Tribes, who talked at the event.
“We are here today in honor of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and all missing and murdered people, including our two-spirits,” said Sovereign.
“I know that everybody has been touched in one or another by someone who has gone missing or ended up murdered,” she said at the walk.
Sovereign led a group of Tulalip Tribal members and community members through one of the local neighborhoods during the walk.
“We will be dropping some tobacco and praying along the way,” she said.
Carela said that Sovereign and the others wanted to walk through some of the local neighborhoods as part of the walk.
“One of the reasons why some of our people are being murdered or missing is because of domestic violence,” said Sovereign.
Carela was happy with the turnout this year. “Last year it was really little,” she said.
“We have more time to notify the community and this year there’s a lot more attendance and more awareness brought forth,” she said.
She hopes the event will help continue work toward making change with the issue.
“We need to be looking into it, trying to figure out what’s been going on. We need to do what we can to help bring awareness so that legislators start paying attention to the issue and there’s more support,” said Carela.