Noem shows support for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women campaign

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Murder rates are more than 10 times the national average among Native American Indian women. The Native community is expressing concerns regarding the future of its women. 

Kristi Noem and Heidi Heitkamp are giving bipartisan support for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) campaign. The campaign brings awareness to violence, murder, and abuse towards Native American Indian women.

MMIW held an awareness event on Thursday with several speakers.

One of MMIW’s greatest concerns is the Keystone XL pipeline. With pipeline construction comes man camps.

Man camps house the men that work on building the pipeline. Each man camp has around 1,400 men. South Dakota is expected to have two of these camps during the building process.

In North Dakota, when Bakken was built, the state saw an increase in crime rates. These crimes ranged from drug abuse to aggravated assault.

Statistically, crimes against Native women are higher. Those campaigning with MMIW fear that crimes against women will increase during the time of the pipeline construction.

Throughout history Native Indian women have been a target for sexual assault and homicide. Most of the women are not reported as missing.

Many people try to take things into their own hands first. Friends and relatives will assume the missing person is just away with a friend. When they realize that the person is missing they sometimes try to search on their own. By the time authorities are notified it is often too late.

Native women that go missing typically aren’t found or found deceased.

Darla Black, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President, believes all women should be protected. In her culture women are seen as sacred.

“We need to work together. Every jurisdiction needs to work together without looking at the color of our skin, without looking at who we are as individuals. It’s an important, crucial topic to us and the protection of our indigenous women,” said Black. 

As one speaker said one person missing is too many.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News