On Nov. 2, the Southern Utah University Native American Student Association hosted the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness event in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Living Room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to Native Women’s Wilderness, Indigenous women and girls are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than all other ethnicities—making murder the third leading cause of death for Native American women. As part of Indigenous People’s month, NASA wanted to bring awareness to the issue.
“Today is all about a big current issue in the native community,” said NASA President Kyle Secakuku. “We’re here to raise awareness and educate campus, because it’s not something a lot of people talk about.”
With the recent uptick in news coverage surrounding missing women, particularly in Utah, many have recognized the disparity between media attention given to missing white women as opposed to missing women of color. The phenomenon has been dubbed “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” and remains a prevalent issue among Indigenous communities.
“Missing native women are treated like unimportant issues in the news,” said Secakuku. “People are so used to hearing about us fighting for land, water and changing mascots…it buries the important issues.”
NASA also invited Canyon Creek Services to the event in order to raise awareness for domestic violence in Indigenous communities.
“Domestic and intimate partner violence rates are much higher among Indigenous people than the overall rates,” said CCS Awareness and Prevention staff member Shay Baruffi.
A CCS handout explained that the prevalence of violence within Indigenous communities stems from historical traumas of colonization and the subsequent marginalization and oppression.
CCS and NASA hope to work towards prevention by addressing the inequality that creates environments for Native people to experience violence.
There are three additional NASA events this week if you missed out on attending this event. On Nov. 3, Hand Game Night will take place in the Starlight Room from 6-8 p.m. On Nov. 4, Native American Information Day will happen in the Living Room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Finally, students are invited to attend the Native American Showcase on Nov. 5 in the Living Room from 6-9 p.m.
To learn more about NASA and their upcoming events, follow them on Instagram.
Story by Aspen English
Photos by McKayla Olsen