Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Legislation for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women

Last Wednesday, Representative Beth Meyers, Representative Amanda Stuck, Senator Janet Bewley, and advocates gathered in Lac Du Flambeau to release a bill that would create a statewide inter-governmental task force to address the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
                                                                   Photo by Ian Henderson, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Indigenous people define the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women (often abbreviate “MMIW”) as an epidemic level of violence against Native women. Native women are subjected to higher levels of violence, including trafficking, sexual assault, domestic abuse and homicide, than virtually any other group in the United States. Perpetrators of the violence are usually non-Native. Advocates say that this continuing disproportionate level of cruelty directed at Native women is rooted in colonialism, sexism and racism and is a continuation of patterns of violence that have been present since European arrival.

“This is an extremely important issue as murder is the third leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaskan Native Women,” said Pennie Meyers, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “We fully support increasing the visibility of this devastating epidemic and urge the legislature to quickly pass this bill.”

“We are grateful to the Native advocates and legislators who have brought this bill forward,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “The violence that Native women have been subjected to since colonization is beyond inhumane. It’s high time we recognize it, understand it and end it.”

The legislation introduced would bring together Tribal and state government leaders, survivors, advocates and law enforcement to examine the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women and require that group to submit a report with recommendations to the state legislature and Tribal governments.