International Women’s Day: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
The Pain Shared & Hope Reignited
by Aspen Lofgren, Unspoken Voices Contributor
Aniin, Aspen nindizhinikaaz! Waabizheshi nindoodem. Minnesota nindonjiibaa. Gaawiin aapiji ninitaa-ojibwemosii. Hello, my name is Aspen. My clan is Marten. I am from Minnesota. I don’t know how to talk Ojibwe very much.
It was three years ago when I learned about my sisters. It was when I felt deep pain learning that 4 out of 5 Native Women are affected by violence and face murder rates 10 times the national average. But did this start three years ago? HELL NO! When colonizers came and stole our land, they must have felt entitled of our women as well. Colonizers have been terrorizing Indigenous Women (and in general Indigenous people) and it has not stopped. My people have been suffering from the historical trauma of our ancestors, the loss of our culture due to forced assimilation, and continued discrimination/racism/segregation.
I have always participated in the culture of my people, but three years ago I began participating in more events and trying to learn as much as I could. I began to share more on my social media about indigenous people and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). February 14th, 2019, I marched in my first MMIW March that was held in Minneapolis, MN. I had the privilege to hear my people talk about the issue. I had the privilege to hear from my people share their experiences with a lost or murdered sister, grandmother, autie, daughter, or friend. I had the privilege to be led by our youth and our elders.
Before we marched, one of the speakers shared with us, “With every cool breeze, it's a reminder of one of our sisters who was left in the mountains, one our sisters dumped in the ocean, left in the cold.” Now when I get a shiver or get hit with a burst of cool wind, I am reminded of my sisters who are fighting for their lives, my sisters whose souls are fighting to be found, my sisters fighting to be at peace.
In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to write about MMIW. It’s a very painful thing to see your sisters disappearing and no one (non-Natives) noticing. I beg that you listen to us. I beg that you share the stories of my Missing and Murdered Indigenous sisters. I beg that you give a fuck.
To learn about statistics regarding MMIW and how you can support: