“Bringing the Women Nation Home” event held to discuss MMIP, other issues affecting Lakota people
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Thanks to a new law passed in this last legislative session, South Dakota is adding a liaison office under the Attorney General for missing and murdered indigenous persons.
This weekend, a group met in Rapid City to figure out the best way to work with the new office.
“Bringing the Woman Nation Home” was an event sponsored by Cheyenne River Organization and Red Generation, and was held to make the community aware of issues that plague the Lakota people.
Issues discussed were MMIP, sex trafficking, laws, healing, and traditional approaches to healing. But, organizers stressed that these issues are not exclusive to women.
“There’s young men that come missing too. And we need to be able to unite and to stand for our people, our future generations, our young people, and elders. And our addicted relatives, people that are addicted. They’re at a huge risk for trafficking, and kidnappings, and violence,” said Lt. Joe Brings Plenty, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
“There’s a lot of issues, not only the missing women, but that’s a major one. That’s a pandemic for us in our communities,” said event organizer, Lavonne Roach.
Fortunately on March 31st, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed House Bill 199 , which establishes a liaison office for MMIP at the Attorney Generals Office.
“You’re dealing with federal, state, tribal, and county. If someone becomes missing, not knowing exactly maybe where they’re at, what jurisdiction that falls in, so it helps having this center liaison to work with all the different jurisdictions,” said Red Dawn Foster, Senator for District 27.
She says natives tend to move around from cities to reservations, and it can be a jurisdictional nightmare at times working to find missing individuals.
Along with HB 199, Foster says legislation is being written that would create a national database for MMIP. She says a local database has been created and has been tracking information for the past two years, and her hope is to make it a national effort.
Along with talk of legislation…there was also a women’s self-defense class.
“I think we need to do in depth, more self-defense training all across the board with young women, and the women today and not only that men too. It has to continue to happen because so many people are going missing,” said Toni Handboy, President Red Generation.