As Number of Missing Native Women Grows, Who is Keeping Track?
Monday, April 27, 2020
PEMBROKE, N.C. -- Jane Jacobs of New Hanover County says every day she wakes up feeling like it's Dec. 20, 2018, the day her 46-year-old sister, Katina Locklear, was murdered in neighboring Pembroke.
Jacobs says she's had no closure in the case, which is ongoing.
Research indicates native women are more than three times more likely to be a victim of violent crimes, and in North Carolina, roughly 90 cases of missing or murdered indigenous women and children -- some cases dating back to the early 1990s -- remain unsolved.
Jacobs says it's an epidemic.
"Robeson County, and even New Hanover County, Hoke County, Bladen, Columbus County, there's huge Indian populations," she states. "Us tribe people in Robeson County, we actually know hundreds of people that are missing and murdered."
Gov. Roy Cooper has declared May 5 an official Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in the state.
The Raleigh-based group Women AdvaNCe recently held an online rally featuring more than 20 speakers, including victims' families and elected officials, calling for legislation to create an accurate statewide database of victims.
Ericka Faircloth, co-director of Women AdvaNCe, says since most North Carolina tribes are not recognized by the federal government, there are no accurate records of exactly how many indigenous women have been murdered or have gone missing.
"People, they just vanish, all the time," Faircloth states. "It's been going on for years. No one can really pinpoint why. Anyone who investigates in the community, it's very dangerous for them to do so."
Faircloth also says misconceptions about what native women look like contribute to the problem. When a crime is reported, victims are often misclassified as black, white or Hispanic.
Jacobs says she believes that when a victim is identified as native, law enforcement tends to move slowly and prosecutions are rare.
"Evidence has been missing, and tests not done when they should be done and sitting on shelves for two years," she points out. "It's like, even though we're standing up and we're raising our voice right now, we're not getting very far with getting the help and the resolution on what's happened to these people's loved ones. "
Jacobs adds that Facebook groups like Shatter the Silence and The Missing of Robeson County, NC serve as gathering places for communities to share information and document ongoing cases.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new survey shows most New Yorkers approve of medical aid-in-dying legislation, and advocates for end-of-life autonomy said it is …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohioans across religious traditions have come together as one voice this week to speak out against capital punishment. Dozens of …
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Community college students in California are being encouraged to take a closer look at their education plans, to see if …
SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- New efforts are underway to help small-scale farms in Arkansas expand their business. The Food Conservancy, a northwest Arkansas …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A high percentage of rejected voter registrations in three of Ohio's biggest counties is raising some red flags. According to the …
CORRECTION: The last day to request absentee ballots in Virginia is Fri., Oct. 22. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Oct…
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A special court panel is hosting public hearings this month, asking Minnesotans what new political maps should look like, and …
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in America, and gun-control advocates say the permissive attitude may be why a student …