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Episode 2: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women with Charlene Aqpik Apok

Sorry everyone! Due to technical difficulties we were not able to record our second episode of the Urban Auntie Show on February 11, 2021. However, here is a recap and some resources!

Charlene Aqpik Apok came onto the show to talk about the current missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis. Charlene is the Gender Justice and Healing Director for Native Movement. She is Iñupiaq from White Mountain and Golovin.

According to the US Department of Justice, Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than any other ethnicity. Eighty-four percent of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. The Center for Disease Control says that murder is the 5th leading cause of death for Native women ages 25 through 34. Charlene brought up a great point when we were discussing statistics, when we look at this data, we are not thinking about the families and the lives these ladies had. The data is shocking, but what is even more heartbreaking, is looking at the faces of Indigenous women who went missing without a trace or are victims of homicide.

Charlene and Laura also talked about data collection. Data collection in the past has not been efficient and accurate. Now there are national databases where families can post their missing person and law enforcement can access this database. This is groundbreaking, because it allows communication between multiple communities and states. There are also projects that are working to increase the accuracy of data collection on MMIW.

The last thing Charlene and Laura brought up was legislative action. The Savanna Act became public law on October 10th, 2020. The Savanna Act directs the Attorney General to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols appropriate to address missing and murdered Indians, and for other purposes. This act asks the Department of Justice to do more. That is exactly what law enforcement needs to be doing. There are an alarming number of missing and murdered Indigenous women. These women are someone's daughter, mother, sister, friend, aunt, or wife.


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