Unsolved: Hundreds of Cases of Missing, Murdered Indigenous NC Women
Thursday, April 22, 2021
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina families and advocacy groups are rallying virtually to highlight how poor data collection, lack of prosecution and systemic racism have contributed to the neglect of the state's indigenous women.
Crystal Cavalier Keck, founder of the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women Coalition of North Carolina and a member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, said while there's no official database, her organization has documented hundreds of cases of missing or murdered indigenous women throughout the state.
She explained the first 24 hours in these types of cases are critical.
"After time goes on, police often push back and then often say, 'Are you sure they didn't run away, or maybe they just want to be alone,'" Keck observed. "So after maybe a week or two, they will open a missing-persons report."
The event will be live-streamed at mmiwnc.com and on the WomenAdvaNCe Facebook page.
North Carolina has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi, and there currently are more than 122,000 Native Americans residing in the state, according to U.S. Census data.
Ashley Graham, an Afro-Indigenous woman with Haliwa-Saponi lineage and a college student, believes the issue isn't receiving enough media coverage. She pointed to the case of Faith Hedgepeth, a University of North Carolina student and member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe found murdered in her apartment in 2012.
"Her killer has not been found," Graham recounted. "And it can happen to any one of us. There are people you go to school with that you may not even know are indigenous."
Loretta Bolden, member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, said due to poor internet connections in the Qualla Boundary region of the state, she'll be walking with others in her community in solidarity at the same time as the virtual event.
She believes high rates of domestic violence in the region are a contributing factor to what some have called an epidemic.
"We're trying to bring awareness of that, and bring awareness again, keep this in the mind, in front of people right now, because it seems like they lose focus," Bolden asserted.
Last year, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared May 5 a Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
get more stories like this via email
A California group formed after the firestorm that leveled the town of Paradise is stepping up to help Maui recover from its own disaster last month…
Skills for reducing violence are becoming essential in schools. At the beginning of the school year, students at a Washington state high school …
The age-old theory that opposites attract has been debunked. According to analysis of more than 130 traits in a study that included millions of …
A new report questions New York City Mayor Eric Adams' latest budget proposal for dealing with the city's influx of over 110,000 migrants. The cost …
A federal judge has blocked a 2022 Arizona law that voting-rights advocates say would have made it harder for some Native Americans to vote. House …
Thousands of U.S. auto workers remain on strike, and the walkout is being felt in Minnesota. A rally was scheduled this morning in the Twin Cities …
If states like Minnesota are going to meet their climate goals, experts say younger workers will need to step into the roles to make it happen - like …
Health and Wellness
In rural Arkansas, access to healthcare can be a distant dream - literally - as almost 60 counties in the state do not have enough providers to serve …