Photo courtesy of Jesse Armstrong
by Berenice Roman-Maceda
The Missing Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Humboldt County Chapter is organizing a protest on Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 1-8 p.m. outside of the FBI office in Fortuna, 180 S. Fortuna Blvd.
Humboldt County has the biggest number of missing and killed Indigenous women in California from 1900 to 2020 according to the Year 1 Project Report.
Jesse Armstrong, local Missing Murdered Indigenous Women activist, said there is little to no action for the families of the women. It’s the reason advocates like him are coming together to demand justice.
The Year 1 Project Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People of Northern California, said that one in five of California’s cases were located in Humboldt County. The Lost Coast region has more cases than the Bay Area, regardless of the Bay Area having an Indigenous population around three times larger than that of the Lost Coast.
The report states that 84% of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime, and in some tribal communities. Indigenous women are murdered at 10 times the national average.
The Savanna Act is a bill named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year-old Indigenous woman who was abducted and killed in North Dakota in 2017.
This bill was passed by Congress but is awaiting to be made a law that would address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women which would allow partnership and data collection between tribal, local, state and federal law enforcement.
It requires federal agencies to get recommendations from tribes on how to approach the safety of Indigenous women and requires new guidelines on how to respond to these cases. This was a bill that came after the pressure from the MMIW organization.
The Humboldt MMIW organization hopes to pressure law enforcement to help commit in assisting the movement as well as providing task forces in the area to assist the families, and if the Savanna Act is passed, then this will help with law enforcement getting involved.
The MMIW group also held a protest on Sept. 9 and hope their efforts will raise awareness, as well as bring answers and justice to the families.
For more information about the event and how to get involved, follow MMIW Humboldt on Facebook to find out more.