The Twin Cities kicked off the `Sing our Rivers Red’ 1st Annual Missing and Murdered Women’s March on Valentine’s Day. Instead of heart shaped candies, flowers and gifts to sweethearts, in Minneapolis, several organizers helped to expand the consciousness of the Twin Cities surrounding the pervasive epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous Women. Rene Ann Goodrich, Michelle Mills, Karlee Dawn, Nancy Bordeaux, Laiel Baker-DeKrey and Reyna Crow and numerous organizations lent their time and commitment for a successful turn out.
Approximately 135 people gathered at the Minneapolis American Indian Center Auditorium for prayers, a traditional water ceremony; and to hear from Willamette Hardy about the tragic death and murder of her daughter Delma Hardy. Attendees heard about the long process and legal battles following the heartbreaking news of Delma’s death in 1996.
Williamette Hardy spent several years working to reclaim the remains of her daughter from a cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. In 2008 Delma was returned to her homeland: Red Lake, Minnesota, for proper burial. Marchers heard Delma’s story, one of hundreds which have left family members heart broken over the loss of their daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and friends.
Unsolved violent crimes towards Indigenous women, including the deaths of thousands in the Western Hemisphere and has touched the hearts of local organizations and activists in the Twin Cities, and Duluth, Minnesota. For decades, stories of missing and murdered women have gone ignored by politicians, law enforcement including homicide units, and the Department of Justice. Hosts of agencies have historically written off reports of the disappearances, and often deaths of Indigenous women. The numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada are staggering, and yet authorities have not devoted the time and resources necessary to solve these violent crimes and the justice these women and their families deserve, has not been served.
While legal and governmental authorities have been ignoring the disappearances and deaths of thousands of Indigenous women across Canada and the United States, other organizations at both a state and national level have been working diligently to raise awareness and bring attention to the international epidemic.
The Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coaltion, Idle No More Minnesota, Native Lives Matter, IDLE NO MORE- Twin cities, Idle No More Duluth, Mending the Sacred Hoop, The Red Shawl Society, Twin Cities AIM Patrol, Minnesota Alliance on Crime, Minnesota Men’s Action Network, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women came together in solidarity to march and sing the `Women’s Warrior Song’ for the entire duration of the Valentine’s Day march, which was over 2 miles long, ending at the Tanner Alber’s 4th Memorial Round Dance.
In addition to the march, Minneapolis Mayor Hodges presented Native Lives Matter organizer Rene Ann Goodrich with a City of Minneapolis Proclamation that states that Valentine’s Day will also be known as the `Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Awareness Day’.
Organizers are already planning next years March.
Other images from the event: