MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds will be gathering Friday to honor the alarming number of missing murdered indigenous people in Minnesota and around the country.
The March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People will take place to honor those who have gone missing or been murdered, and stand up to injustice.
Over 500 students will lead the march in Minneapolis, and organizers hope to spread awareness of the problem.
The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Minneapolis American Indian Center with information tables and conversation. The march will depart the American Indian Center at 12:30 p.m. and end back at the center at 1:30 p.m. with closing remarks and an open space to share personal stories.
Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will be at the event to support marchers.
In 2019, Minnesota launched its Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force to combat the issue.
“We can send a message that Minnesota will not let indigenous women continue to vanish,” Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein said before a meeting discussing the task force in 2019.
According to the state Legislature, Minnesota ranks No. 9 in the country for the highest rate of missing and murdered indigenous women. Rates of violence on reservations can be up to 10 times the national average.
Although many believe that this violence only occurs on reservations, up to 71 percent of Native Americans live in urban areas and see the same violence rates.
Of the 5,712 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in 2016, only 116 were logged in the Department of Justice database. However, many believe this number is much higher, because many go unreported.
The event is held by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, All My Relations Arts, Native Lives Matter Coalition, Minnesota Two-Spirit Society and the Anishinabe Academy.