May 5th is National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The goal is to highlight the epidemic of violence against Native American women and children.
Local organizations such as the Red Ribbon Skirt Society are using the day to raise awareness. The Red Ribbon Skirt Society provides awareness and education for missing and murdered indigenous woman and children.
Not only in the Black Hills, but across the United States.
Lily Mendoza, Founder of the Red Ribbon Skirt Society said “we’re asked to visit in schools, colleges, and community, different events. Just providing awareness speaking to the issue and the crisis and also working with a lot of youth and young women.”
The Red Ribbon Skirt Society Works year round to help raise awareness but uses National MMIW Awareness Day as a way to honor and remember their missing and murdered relatives. One of the ways they remember them is by hanging red dresses every year.
“We need to remember this is happening in our community. It’s happening not only to our indigenous people but it’s also happening to our non-native indigenous people. But what we are finding is for years and years and years with colonization there’s hundreds of years of our indigenous women that have been murdered or missing. We’re bringing attention to that.”
The Red Ribbon Skirt Society believes missing and murdered indigenous women are more often then not connected to human trafficking. Which is why they are working with the Rosebud Indian Reservation to provide another shelter for women who are escaping domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
“That’s in the process and that’s a huge need out there as well. Because you know hand in hand with missing and murdered indigenous woman is human trafficking. And so how we can save those women from human trafficking and find a place for them to be safe because they will end up in our missing and murdered.”