Every year Indigenous Women in both the United States and Canada go missing or are killed. Yet these instances are rarely reported or investigated. According to the National Crime Information Center, out of 5,712 missing women and girls reports, only 116 cases were logged through the US Department of Justice’s missing person database. That’s only a little over two percent. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third leading cause of Indigenous Women’s death. Four out of every five Indigenous Women have experienced some form of violence. 

That is where MMIW – Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – comes into play. MMIW hopes to raise awareness for these women and their families by making their voices heard.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

MMIW’s symbol is a red hand painted over an Indigenous Woman’s mouth. The hand contains the shape of the country within it, to show the country – US or Canada – where this woman’s violence and pain are being left unspoken. The organization hopes to fight and find justice and peace for the families and break the silence surrounding these missing women.

MMIW was founded in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Their activism has helped garner attention to this issue. The hope is their efforts result in lasting change and justice. In real, political terms, in response to MMIW, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that created a committee focused on the issue. 

MMIW has multiple goals. Primarily, it is justice for the murdered and missing women, while changes to laws and regulations to ensure the system offers equal protection for Indigenous people are both the means and another goal. North America’s dishonest and shameful history with its Indigenous peoples assures an ongoing struggle.

How to Help

One of the best ways to help MMIW is by lending your voice to the cause. Start by educating yourself on the matter. Remember to use your voice to speak up. This can apply to digital settings, as #NoMoreStolenSisters, #MMIW, #MMIP, #MMIWG, and #MMIR are all relevant and used hashtags on the subject.