Sokaogon Chippewa Community News
SCC Community Hosts MMIW Walk
Story by Richard D. Ackley, Jr., and Kim Swisher
Yesterday, more than 70 people gathered in Mole Lake at the historic Dinesen House to participate in a special walk – to recognize the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across America.
This walk was organized by the Sokaogon Chippewa Cultural Committee, and was the first community activity since the pandemic shut everything down last March.
The event began at Noon with a smudge ceremony performed by Ryan Randall, Chairman of the Cultural Committee, followed by a prayer by Robert VanZile, Jr., Tribal Chairman.
Each attendee wore a red t-shirt as a unified effort, and each person who walked made a donation to help with funding this and future events.
The walk began moving north along Hwy 55 to the north end of the reservation and then circled back moving south behind the Casino. Several participants carried banners and flags for others to read.
Everyone returned a little over an hour later to the starting point where a fire burned and was tended for 24 hours. The Cultural Committee provided a small lunch for everyone, individually sealed in plastic bags.
“The event today raised almost $1,200. This money will be forwarded to the Woodland Women Organization at the Menominee Nation in Keshena, who has been instrumental in establishing this project for Tribes as a way to find solutions,” said Ryan Randall.
Donations may still be made by contacting Gloria Toyebo at Sokaogon Finance.
Photos Courtesy of Richard D. Ackley, Jr.
“Today, thousands of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native Americans continue to cry out for justice and healing. On Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we remember the Indigenous people who we have lost to murder and those who remain missing and commit to working with Tribal Nations to ensure any instance of a missing or murdered person is met with swift and effective action.”
“My Administration has made a priority of helping to solve the issues surrounding Native Americans who go missing and those who are murdered across the United States — including high rates of Native women and girls, including transgender women and girls. We recognize there is a level of mistrust of the United States Government in many Native communities, stemming from a long history of broken promises, oppression, and trauma. That is why we are pursuing ways to build trust in our Government and the systems designed to provide support to families in need. We must bridge the gap for families in crisis, provide necessary support services, and support opportunities for healing through holistic community-driven approaches.”
“I am committed to building on the successes of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by supporting the passage of the VAWA Reauthorization of 2021. Among other protections, this bill reaffirms inherent Tribal authority to prosecute certain non-Indian offenders – extending protections from domestic violence and dating violence to Native American victims of sexual violence, stalking, trafficking, child abuse, elder abuse, and assault against law enforcement or justice personnel when crimes are committed on Tribal territory. Additionally, through the American Rescue Plan we provided an additional $35 million in grants for Tribes to provide temporary housing, assistance, and supportive services to victims of domestic and dating violence, as well as supplemental funding for the StrongHearts Native Helpline, and additional funding for services for sexual assault survivors.”
On Wednesday, Governor Evers, Lt. Governor Barnes, Attorney General Kaul, and Tribal Leaders from across Wisconsin met virtually to sign a proclamation to commemorate the day in the state. You may view the event here.
The Governor issued a Proclamation, and said, “This MMIWG Awareness Day, we honor and remember the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across our state and country, and we recommit to ensuring the protection, safety, and well-being of Indigenous communities.”
Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin State Treasurer, also signed a Proclamation yesterday to raise awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Wisconsin and across the country.