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Missing and Murdered Indigenous People recognized

A sign from a Jan. 9, 2019 missing and murdered Indigenous women vigil in Missoula.

May 5th is National Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s Awareness day.

It came in response in 2017 to the murder of Hanna Harris on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and other abductions and killings of Native women across Montana and the United States.

Charlene Sleeper is a MMIP advocate Billings. She says the movement reflects all missing persons and homicides in the United States, not only Native individuals.

“The only difference is that we contend with the complexities of the Indian reservation system. So our judicial system works differently. However, all homicides and missing person cases are important to MMIP advocates,” Charlene said.

Sleeper says MMIP events build community and allow people to grieve together for their loss.

“We are utilizing indigenous methodologies, including healing and advocacy in order to raise the awareness. I highly encourage anybody that has ever experienced a missing person or a homicide victim in their family to join the movement, it does not matter what your cultural background is,” said Charlene

An event will be held in Billings at noon at South Park. There is a rally in Hardin outside the courthouse at 3 p.m. and several events are happening through the weekend on the MSU campus in Bozeman.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.