MMIW: Silent No More

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

It's finally spring. And i'm saying goodbye. Snow hello adventure enduring the honda dream garage spring. You can get epic deals on your favourite honda model ready to get rugged and take the off road in all wheel drive honda. Suv like the crv. Hr v. pilot asphalt on redesigned rich. I want to take spring road trip. Checkout fuel-efficient turbocharged civic organization. Say goodbye to winter. And hello to a new honda. Don't miss huge savings during the honda dream garage spree bed now at your local honda dealer. Earth sovereign was just fourteen years old and she was an itty bitty thing standing just over five feet tall barely hitting a hundred pounds on the scale. Still when she walked into the party that night she stuck out her chin and let them know she had arrived. The portland house belonged to a friend of a friend. She wasn't really sure who but between the bass heavy beat of the music and excited energy of the young people milling around. This felt like the place to be. Even though she was still in the dawn of her teenage years served feather already had plenty of experience with booze and not just to liven up a party. She learned the hard way liquor. Could sue the tortured heart at least temporarily so just like so many other nights. She grabbed a bottle. There were a lot of familiar faces at this house. Party met a lot of strangers to and when earth feather went down the hall to use the bathroom. She wasn't alone. A group of young men grabbed her and refused to let her go. I always rate They told me that they wanted to take me and traffic in hawaii. It's a sickening story. That's all too familiar for so many young indigenous women all over the nation and these girls get lost in the shuffle or they run away and they ended up homeless. Been murdered or buried or who. Don't but now new. Laws and new efforts are being made to stop the cycle and find justice for the families of the missing and murdered indigenous women from the pacific northwest and around the country. I'm kim shepard with carolina's oreo and this is the scene of the crime. So kim earth feathers experience of going with a friend to a party where you don't know everyone when you're a teenager and also you know wanting to numb out. Pain is something i think. Many of us. Yeah if not most of us can relate to doing when we were teens. And here's what makes it so terrifying for native american families that there's this ever-present fear that a predator or predators could just snatch you up without a trace and your family is left. Twist in the wind devastated me not knowing what happens to you not knowing if you're missing if you run away and especially when you look at the numbers. Homicide is the third leading cause of death among native american women which is ten times the national average. We should all be carrying about missing and murdered. Native women girls mothers grandmothers daughters sisters aunties and friends. And just like you said i mean the teenager is can be difficult for anyone even if you have an amazing support system and you live in this safest community but when you don't have those things it's amazing. How quickly can go from bit of teenage rebellion to a full blown life threatening emergency earth. Feather sovereign knows about this first hand. She's a member of the colville confederated tribes and she's grown up knowing about the plight of native american women who are murdered or missing and are failed by the system. Her mother was an activist who fought to keep sacred lands protected. I grew up with a single mother was myself and my sister. My mother she was my rock in life. She was involved with the american indian movement and living in portland oregon. She was also involved with environmental. Riots she was involved with the big mountain movement which was no mining within the navajo. Hopi reservation homelands. She went to the dakotas during the american humane and she realized all impacts from owning on their reservation. Not just the cancers but also the man kam. She's come along with the mining. This term man camps was one that i hadn't heard before but in addition to the environmental concerns around mining the man camps bring a whole other category of worry for people who live on reservations basically are temporary boarding facilities for the workers who are building the infrastructure and when they're built on reservations. It means that you've got a whole bunch of strangers moving in mostly men who have nothing more than work to keep them occupied. It's a setting where criminal. Activity is naturally heightened but in an environment where there is limited capacity for law enforcement. There was a law that was passed in the nineteen seventy-eight kwame Which hold the tribes that they are not allowed to prosecute non tribal members on reservations. But years later there was a public law to eighty which was like a state contract agreement that gave the state permission to come on the reservation to help assist in arresting people but not all tribes have a public law to eighty and even if they do have a public to eighty still. There's not enough funding and not enough people to help. Could usually if something was to happen on reservations the fbi may come in. Are the bureau of indian affairs. Are the state troll but They rarely do. I see you shaking your head over there care on. I mean it's just it's it's you wonder why there's no trust rhino or little trust. You know i that says it. All i mean i just you shake your head and you wonder like how is this fucking possible and yet it is well as a little girl. Earth feather lived with her mom and her sister. They lived for some time on the colville reservation in washington state later in portland where her mom could be more involved in the activist community by another my father. They divorced when i was like three years old so i had a lot of like abandonment issues and then as a young girl i was molested by neighbor so i was also dealing with auto emotional appeal so i was coping with paul. And it's really not surprising. I mean with how much she'd been through so early in her life in nineteen ninety-two when she was fourteen years old. She was invited to that house party in portland. She know whose house it was. Just a friend of a friend. But i think we've all gone to parties like that. We're a lot of familiar faces there. Lots of drinking so i can imagine. Earth better wasn't thinking about all the stories. Her mama told her about. What can happen when you let your guard down. She was just a kid being a kid trying to relax and drink away. Her worries and i went to the back of the house to use the restroom. And that's where they ground was in the back of the house and my friend was looking for the end. She just assumed that. I got bored of the party. In what home and then one. I didn't come home. My mom started looking for me the next day my mother she called the police not said well. You know you have to wait. Forty eight hours which isn't true. The saw while she probably just ran away. The assumptions about why this child is missing. I always think about my own children. you know. We both got a lot of kids. We've both been through those teenage years. And when my child was fourteen i mean they might have looked like an adult but they were certainly still children and i couldn't imagine them being put in situation and not looking for them not immediately wanting to just just begin a search and be frantic and i mean i would never just immediately think ran away. We'll just wait a few days and see if they come back well as kenneth lanning are retired. fbi profiler has said we have so much sympathy when it's a three year old or a four year old like what happened. Where is this child but these are still children and yet for whatever reason we think oh they could have run away. And then you add the indigenous women being marginalized and like the domestic violence and all of the trauma and it's like to be ignored. And certainly we've all been at. I can speak for myself being a teen putting myself in situations that you know. I'm just so grateful that i survived and then adding that component of like. Hey someone can just kidnap you murder you and nobody's going to know what happened. There's going to be no law enforcement looking. Or maybe little depending on the scenario that plays out but on top of that. They've been told over the generations. Be careful this is what can happen. And so if you have been taken you know you're relying on your family and the resources that they have to come get you and find you which a lot of times. Those resources are very little in the native american community. I mean they're you know not a lot of wealth happening there to hire private. Investigators are search teams or whatever so as she would learn later the men who grabbed her were part of a gang. They made their money through human trafficking selling girls and young women remember. She's just fourteen years old selling them as sex workers after indoctrinating them into the trade themselves after they grammy in acute quiet. There is three of them. So i was like freeing from a safety. I really didn't know what to do. And i was like frozen you now. It's pretty petite back then. I was about five four hundred pounds so they were pretty intimidating but they hold everybody to leave the party. And so i stayed there for about a night and then they moved me to a motel room. I was raped and They tell me that they wanted to take me and traffic me in hawaii because there's a few girls. They sent down a hawaii and they were able to make about four thousand dollars a week so there were almost trying to talk to me. Almost turned glamorize it. It was like a system that they had that there was one of them. That was really nice and then one that was like really mean so. It's like they already know what they were doing to try to control in a few late they had. I think if this were me as a fourteen year old and i were in this situation. I would be thinking okay. Just buy some time. Because i'm sure the cops have been called. I'm sure somebody's looking for me. Let me just buy time until somebody can find me. But i'm sure that's not what was running through her mind. Yeah that's what. That's what i'm saying like yeah hopelessness and to have somebody Charming and you know the the good one in a bad one you know. Hey you're gonna make a lot of money and on. It's like yeah. They have the system down. They know how to manipulate. And we'll all this is happening. There is no police investigation. No search party being organiz no reward being offered for her return but she did have her mother and a strong network within the native american community. Who were looking once. They pin down. Who earth better had been with at that house party. The friend of friend they were able to get a message. To our captors. Unleash your friend was able to contact them and told them that you know. My mother was looking for me than they. They let them know that my mother she was involved with the american indian movement solo. They wanted to drive me home. But i wouldn't let them drive me home. I'd i would just saw dropped me off close to so they. They grow back four days. After she'd been kidnapped earth feather was back home but the ordeal left her feeling angry and confused. She wondered whether she ever would have been released. If it weren't for the cloud that our mother had in the community. Yeah so earth feathers. Mother did get her daughter back successfully. Using one of the few tools that indigenous people have word of mouth missing persons flyers and posters and social media. I think this one of the main points of raising awareness is more support for families fighting for their either murdered loved ones kidnapped loved ones and then the people themselves earth feather waiting to be rescued. Fortunately you know. The mom is the true hero in this story. Who knows what would have happened to her. She didn't have that she felt ashamed. She blamed herself for staying out that night but she was also really angry. That law enforcement didn't take any action. It made me feel really bad. You know felt like. I didn't matter it really took a hit on my self esteem. You know i felt like i really wasn't protected. Her mother continued to be iraq putting her in counseling and alcohol treatment. But it wouldn't be the last time that earth feather would be abused. I was still self medicating. And i was rate. And i didn't feel like if i call. Please start with matter than also growing up by wasn't a domestic violent relationship where i did call the police because he strangled me mun itami for that. He held me hostage and in that hostage situation. I call the police and they didn't want to do anything they just told me to leave the home and ghosted relatives and he goes back to. I think we've said in prior episodes that when there is an allegation of abuse victims should always be believed that she'd be the default if information comes out later that that shows. Maybe that wasn't the case. You know we can deal with that at that time but when you have a woman or a man coming to you saying i have been abused. Please help me. We should believe that person we should find out what's going on and we should do what we can to help them. But that wasn't her experience. She experienced so much trauma early in her life but instead of being an at the world all of this which she had every right to be earth is using these experiences to fuel her passion and follow in her mother's footsteps. She's now the director of the missing and murdered indigenous women of washington. The reason why we're missing murdered indigenous women washington even though you know we do our outreach with the men and even our lgbtq which we call her. Two spirits are focused mainly on the women and girls because traditionally are native american pupil. Or we come from a matrimonial matriarchal societies where we hold you know our women as being sacred. She has a special connection to the earth into the land in. They say that when one woman was found murdered are when she's murdered. It's like killing four people at once because while on average she usually has about three or four children so when they kill off our our women you know. They think he'll often next generation. I just love getting that different perspective on. Why are we focusing on the women because the women are what hold this community together and when you're breaking down and you're crushing the spirit of these women when you're murdering these women or they're disappearing. Yeah you're you're not just ruining their lives and affecting their families but the entire tribal community which is held together by these women well and she says it. I mean it's just the way that she speaks is just. It's it's like it's still reverberating in my mind right now because the sacredness of women just in general but also in the native american culture and when they're missing and there murdered and nobody in it feels like i'm sure a lot. Let me just say this. I'm sure there's a lot of people who are working extremely hard both in law enforcement and trying to solve this issue but but when that doesn't reach the levels of people who are like. Oh hey where's my mom. Where's my grandma. My sister you know. Where's my anti. you know it. Just it feels like a just an open wound that is continuing to fester investor investor right and generation after generation. Yes and like like you said you know. Hear me hear us you. That's why they have the missing and murdered indigenous women. It's such a strong with the red hand handprints over the mouth. It's like hear us in the. Us native american women are more than twice as likely to experience violence than any other demographics so when earth feather lays out kind of like you know of all the the the kidnapping and the human trafficking peace and then the domestic violence that she goes through in the domestic violence that she's witnessed in her life. You know these aspects play a huge part in what's happening in their lives because one and three native women is sexually assaulted during her life and sixty. Seven percent of these assaults are perpetrated by non natives. You know that going back to those man camps. I mean once you hear man camp. You can't hear on here it. S like you. Can you know what's what that's about. And when you have a bunch of. And i don't want to generalize on men but like you got a bunch of men are there is there. Alcohol is their drugs and then you have a population kind of being targeted. We'll they're vulnerable. They're just they're vulnerable population. And so yeah when you have the men out there who. They're not around their normal friends and family. Like what are they going to do to keep themselves occupied with almost zero zero consequences for any of those actions right. It's an even if ninety nine percent of those men are good men who would never do anything to harm women that still leaves one percent that can do some real damage right. So one of the goals of the movement is to focus on prevention but also healing from the violence that they have experienced. We know from research that children who witness domestic violence that they suffered long term consequences including changes to their mental and physical development possibly resulting in worse health outcomes learning disorders and continuation of a cycle of violence over generations. I don't remember where i read that. But it's like it makes sense like it. It not only just having the resources to investigate the cases but to prevent them from happening. Yes yeah there's been a lot of movement towards correcting the systemic issues that have caused so many indigenous families to feel like no one cares like no one is looking for their missing loved. Ones like no one wants to find answers for their unsolved murders but before we get into this progress we need to take a look at how we got here in the first place. Emily washington is a member of the yakima tribe. she's also an activist and founder of native friends. It's an organization that works to support understanding of the history and culture of native peoples. She says they're women are often targeted. Because they're seen as less than as not quite human something that has been going on for hundreds of years the of need a woman and targeting native women. We have historical records about that that stretches back to the nineteen hundreds free ackerman's. There was literally newspaper ads. That ran that said dusky maidens in demand in a described how you can marry a yakima woman target her for land and leave her and this showed in multiple states and areas and when i went to look and see like why is oklahoma running this. Why is oregon running this. Why are you know. Why are these different estates in areas running this ad about how to target a yakima women for her land and her to marry her in the take her land. You see the numbers are really high for my w in those areas and they'll state so there's a pattern of targeting native women further resources to either through specifically their land or even more no dehumanization of our native women our first report of 'em my w for the ackman nation was eighteen fifty-five our response of the rape and killing of our yakima women and children was to take those assailants and kill them so that they could harm anybody else. The government's response to that reporting and that action was a three year war so when we reported our first two cases of missing a burden didn't sleman. The government started a war with us. This was just a little bit hard for me to believe. I'm going to be honest. So i was doing some googling online about the yakima war and on most of the websites including history link and even yakima dot com. They don't mention the rape of the yakima women at all but wikipedia does mention the fact that there were rising tensions between the yakima and local government for some time but it was the rape of yakima woman that lit the match and started that war in eighteen fifty five like emily says the history has been whitewashed and for a lot of these websites they talk about in decencies there were incidents between the white settlers and the native americans. But they don't really describe or go into the detail of what. What was that what happened. It simplified in a way that it just takes away the evidence of what they went through and so you know to hear her talk about that and then to read online that yeah i mean there were rising tensions but the war didn't start until this woman was raped and that's what started the war in eighteen fifty five and then you started earlier with some tribes have protocols in place where these men camps if they have them there then something can they can be prosecuted and even to this day. Some do and some don't remember earlier right. Yeah that's modern but in this time in eighteen fifty five. They had no rights at all. I know but i mean some of them still don't have any rights based on that i mean if we look at the evidence i mean. I'm sorry when you read that. I was like i'm not surprised but it's like how is this possible at the same time right. I think it's one of those things where i don't want it to be true. I can't believe that that's true because it's just too horrific well and i think that's the whole thing about whitewashing is that we don't want it to be true and yet we need to understand and we need to know our history which is painful to move forward. Yeah it might seem like this is a really long time ago. We're talking about eighteen fifty five but the effects of that dehumanisation can last for generations while she says we can look at the higher levels of addiction on reservations as one example of that there are some aspects of people that are doing things that maybe they shouldn't be it is it's like none of these things equal you get to be murdered. You have to be traffic yet. We still come up against this aspect of dehumanizing language with regards to these cases about needed women may come up against you know victim blaming with regards to native women and i always feel like there's different aspects and society that native people go through and have been through the molestation things that have been very violent that have impacted our ability to have basic function. Not being able speaker language and being abused in public schools a result of that. That's my family. That's only one generation away beginning in the late eighteen. Hundreds children from native american families were forced into boarding schools aimed at assimilating them into white society. They weren't allowed to speak their native languages. Practice their native cultures or even use their real names and if they broke any of these rules they were often punished. Physically and the practice didn't end until nineteen thirty four when congress passed the indian reorganization act giving native tribes more control over their own people. But that can erase decades of abuse suffered by these families. It also didn't end the racism that by this time was ingrained into so many parts of american society including laws and finances just like so many native women while she has been hearing stories about missing and murdered indigenous women her entire life white but his inner seventy suicide is. Stir that's missing for decades. And i think the strength of her speaking to this topic i think of sandra lee smith skin who is right in seattle shot under a bridge across from city hall. Seattle her son. I grew up knowing him. Like you know you see people in the community. And i didn't know that his mother was murdered and when he had i seen the news he had a very emotional response to it. And it's interesting to see that process in cloud that he shared about the process. Indeed been open about it but it was after being alone for so long and feeling alone for so long and to have finally somebody validated emotional to the point wanted to rejected a showed and now that a place where he's researching looking advocating to different law enforcement in judges just for them to build understanding about unsolved cases and how about how women have gone through horrible things in their lives and sometimes are in a different place away from home and get killed how they don't get their justice and how their family members eight the movement to acknowledge and combat. The targeting of indigenous women and girls is reaching far beyond the tribal communities now. The washington state attorney. General's office has been working to ensure that tribal members who've been murdered are included in their hits database that stands for homicide investigation and tracking system. The purpose is to get all the information in one place so they can identify patterns. That might help them. Track down suspects for people that are have looked at true crime in the north west. You start to see and recognize different patterns and that is a system that was built off law enforcement being able to identify patterns and see like. Hey maybe this has to do with a serial killer or when we look at the golden state killer. I mean do we have. I got a police officer. That is also a suspect in a true crime cases. Yes we do. What does that mean. Poor connections with regards to unsolved cases that we're now learning and finding out about so it means that potentially we can have all cases. I'm you have more is on something we have people that have you know worked countless our sleepless nights. You develop a system to try to protect people utilize that if somebody's offering a helping hand helping system let's utilize so the state attorney. General is trying to track the murder cases and the washington state patrol is now focusing on the indigenous people who are missing the state patrols. Chris loftus says one of their most recent efforts has been to simply put together a list. A comprehensive yes of all the native individuals from washington state who are missing and it's a lot harder than you might think the bottom line is we've got twenty nine. Federally recognized tribes. Then there are multiple non travel communities whether they're urban or a rural many of them have their own law enforcement agencies. So you have tribal law enforcement. You have county law enforcement of state yet. Federal bureau in your prayers for for major crimes and so the bottom line. Is you have a lot of systems and no one was tasked with or stepped up to the play to russell all that to the ground and just start with just a basic list. I on the one hand. I get that. Because it's it's it's really easy to point fingers and say well. Why didn't you do this. And why didn't you do that. But i do think that this is the modern era and that it just seems it falls flat on top of that. I think that that just by not having something. A database it really. I mean this isn't the nineteen eighties where we're dealing the green river killer right. Yeah you could say you can see all the card catalogs at. they're pulling. How would you do that case. It was back in the eighties. There's no technology i mean. There is technology now and there has been for decades and there has been and it's funny because it's interesting. I was reading. This piece called in kind of anticipation of doing this. I mean you did a lot of legwork on this case you really wanted to do it right yeah. We really wanted to make sure that we had because we didn't. I know that you and i both didn't know it's like what what is the pinpoint. Why is this happening. Why are there so many missing and murdered indigenous women. What is it. it's not just one thing. It's multiple things. But according to this piece that i read in the vanished emily joaquin's she was actually interviewed for that. She said quote when their native. Why does it go into the secret realm. I want that list. I still don't understand why that information is withheld. It seems like something that can be addressed different people having access to that information to help share and find them it bothers me that their names are withheld. The people that are missing. I want them to know that we're looking for them. I want their families to know that we're looking for them. And so i think that yeah. There is a bureaucracy that happens when you're dealing with so many different jurisdictions and we know in the past with like cases where ted bundy for example he used that to his advantage of like moving girl in one place and then you know putting her body somewhere else and then her jewelry somewhere else so we know that that happens when they don't talk to each other but it just feels like on guideline guys and i know you're getting some good stuff happening. There goes good stuff. So as of march i the state patrol is now publishing a list. That's updated weekly. Thanks in large part to patty. Gosh she's the tribal liaison for the state patrol in western washington. According to patty even getting a firm count on the number of how many native women are missing has been a real challenge. When we're talking about our numbers. I think i do think there are low and i think that's because we have a lot of people are system as a native american that can be data entry quality control issue. That could be a database. Doesn't match up with a defaults to white. And there's there's a lot of trust issues community doesn't necessarily trust outside law enforcement. It's fearful for them to go out to another law enforcement agency. We have cases where when the family initiated initially. Excuse me hearts initially had reported their person missing. They didn't give all the evidence to the local bond for When we found out personal state of american and we've passed that along better permission to that jurisdiction and they they contact with balancing family came forth without. They've been holding for decades because they didn't want to share with the non tribal on pat. He's been working as a tribal liaison for decades so she's really had the opportunity to see the evolution of law enforcement practices and how creating trusting relationships with travel agencies and the indigenous individuals themselves can have such a huge impact on the outcomes in these cases. I think washington state has benefit. That maybe other states may not have. Because we've been working on this for probably at least twenty years and would say this isn't something building. Those relationships hasn't been something that's been just the last year and a half. I've seen an update change last twenty years. Interestingly enough about when we first went public with our numbers we are getting a lot of calls from out of state now who to call In washington state so we would go through those and work on trying to figure out what restriction they went missing brahmin and what would have helped bursary in so we work with state agencies that we actually work with simple and canada's looking at were in washington state so this is really important work. It's not just about getting names. It's about moving these cases forward to hell developing trust. Yeah exactly developing you and. They deserve that they being the government needs to develop trust in order to get people to feel comfortable to share. Yeah and to help with that relationship building. The state patrol also recently added a second travel liaison who focuses on tribes in eastern washington. Don pullen is a member of the spokane tribe herself and she understands what it's like to lose a loved one to violence. I lost my mother to a homicide. When i was was about twenty years old in at did affect on the spokane indian reservation so definitely have unfortunately the experience and What people are going through so when patty are collaborating working together to bring up subjects or information i bring that perspective with me like we have to understand. That families are in shock some. Ptsd you like how do we make communication clerical. Somebody's or heinous in that eight yet. Not put the onus on the families to report and deliver all the information that investigators need the fact remains that there is a lack of trust. there is some ptsd that happens in a lot of families where you know. It's hard for them to come to terms with terrible things that are happening around them and they don't want to deal with an outside agency deal with a group of people that have for centuries not been on their side. This is not a time when they want to dip their toe into that realm. I mean the. The onus really has to be on outside agencies on the state government the federal government to step up and help create those relationships which it's something they are working toward according to a report funded by the us. Department of justice over eighty. Four percent of american indian or alaska. Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. According to the cdc they have a higher rate of homicide than any other ethnic group and the washington state patrol found that while just one point. Nine percent of the population identifies as native. They account for six percent of all the missing person cases. So no matter. Who's looking at the numbers it's clear. Indigenous people are being targeted and there can be a lot of reasons for that as we already heard. History is playing a huge role in this as does the confusing network of agencies that are tasked with keeping the peace on tribal lands and the state patrol. Chris loftus says there's at least one other element play here and it's the criminals themselves. Criminals are always going to find the easiest way to do what they want to do. And the easiest way to do what you want to do if you want to do. Bad is doing bad people that maybe don't have all the protections don't have all the all the consistent systems in place don't have that absolute response. You know that most people feel like if something bad happens to me. I can call nine one one and somebody's going to respond. Something's going to have somebody is going to be my advocate. Tribal communities simply haven't had historically in our country. The native american communities are still the communities that are the the farthest away from the protection reach and comfort that our government systems are designed to provide. And what he says farthest away. He's talking about several aspects. They're physically a lot of times far away from metro areas that have the crime labs the investigators with decades of experience. And all that i mean. They're physically far away. But they're also technologically far away. They don't always have you know. High speed internet to to make connections with law enforcement or great cell service and all of the areas. Maybe they don't have a signal to call nine one one where they're at. Maybe they don't have as many cameras when a crime happens to go and get that. Cctv to see what was the suspicious vehicle at this gas station or the supermarket. There just isn't as much technology on the tribal land so that can also hamper investigations. But one detail. That i found interesting is that i read somewhere. Like seventy percent of native american. Women actually don't live on tribal lands so that would make sense on tribal land but outside of it. It still is like way way crazy. High only thirty percent of native american women are actually living on tribal land. The interesting thing too is that when they were talking about how names are put into the databases and they said you know that the computer systems default to white when they're about ethnicity so it takes that extra step for the responding officer or whoever it is to to go in there and change that but on top of that when they do go and change it. There's no option for spokane or colville or yucca. Ma its native american. What tribe are we talking about. I mean where's the family native american doesn't really tell us who they are but again it just feels like they just need to okay. This is what we do get a step a process in place and then we add those metrics so that again. it's twenty twenty one. It's not a nineteen eighties. So i'm glad to hear that they're at least acknowledging what's happening because in order to actually move forward you need to understand what the issues are and it sounds like the washington state patrol and the attorney general's office i think you said are are at least starting to figure it out. Yes lofta says no matter where you are. The key to successful law enforcement is consistency and that has been clearly lacking for native peoples. We're not trying to go win with you. Know keep that consistent. We're not trying to go in with the state of washington. Washington state patrol says here is. This is a one size fits all and here. Here's what you've got to do. We're trying to to work through the system so that everyone's rights are and sovereignty are recognized and appreciated but that we have a system that is more more successful for all those involved and the good news is. They're starting to see some success in locating native people who are missing and tribal liaison patty. Gosh says some of these cases go back decades. We have had resolution that we penalty decision as far as calling out the names. We don't do that because the traumas person's located whether it be located oster way or a negative way this balanced going through a lot. So he later to them if they want to be. We did have a case where we had a a young lady who had been missing for sixteen years and her family had given an issue is dead with the exception of believe that she can still be alive and related kept pushing and we found her. She was across the country. Were able to get them in contact. They're working on bringing her home. We don't know details at happened. But i think the london and missing the longest family was looking or their uncle who bundy in nineteen sixty seven. We actually found him in another state in that situation. He was happy and excited that somebody was looking for him and thought well enough or handle it for him that at the end of the conversation he did not want contact with his family. So we have happiness onsides disappointment other side. But we're locating the also we can do the best for 'em pat china we've attic unfortunate cases are Demised found deceased and in those cases. We try to be an advocate for the family and rain owner and investigator together so they understand why the corner might make a decision if it was a suicide or you know details. Help them understand what's happening. I guess this out really for at least a little. Bit of healing healing and healing of the relationships between the tribes and the outside government agencies in washington isn't the only state that is attacking this issue in oregon state attorney general recently released their first report on missing and murdered indigenous persons. It lists eleven missing eight murdered people with oregon connections according to the oregonian. The us attorney's office also plans to meet later this year with all nine federally recognized tribal governments in oregon to gather more information and find out what other efforts might be made to support information sharing between law enforcement agencies that deal with tribal members there was a landmark study conducted by the seattle-based urban indian health institute in two thousand eighteen. They found that there were more than five thousand missing. Alaskan native american indian women and girls in two thousand sixteen but just over a hundred of them were actually listed in the federal database maintained by the department of justice. That's less than one percent. I mean talk about feeling like nobody cares. Yeah jim futa is the executive director of crime stoppers. Puget sound and. He says through his work fighting sex trafficking. He's seen firsthand. How these young women just fall through the cracks. Domestic violence is high child. Abuse is high on some of the reservations. And there's lack of sufficient law enforcement to take care of it and some of the people that are involved in whether it be domestic violence or whether it be abused kids are non native and the reservation has no jurisdiction over them so the complexities of the law enforcement. And who's responsible for what is still unclear and they're working. These outed some of the cases that are brought to the federal. our federal government for these cases are inadequate. They refuse to file so it makes it more difficult. And and and these girls get lost in the shuffle. They run away and they ended up homeless. And they just get lost in the shuffle with someone. We don't even know who they are or been murdered or buried or who knows even with the best of intentions and new efforts by law enforcement to reach out to indigenous communities there is still that lack of trust that has just been ingrained in a lot of native people and that may be one of the biggest hurdles that takes the longest overcome. It's a distrust that has grown for centuries and who's to say it won't take just as long to gain that trust back. In the meantime there are efforts to find a way around the problem. Like a new app called p. Three tips it. Lets people connect with crime. Stoppers and local law enforcement agencies anonymously. Yucca mall has their own crushed offers program that they used the p. Three tips on that app that you can put video audio and photos on there when you hit submit. That doesn't go to the police that goes to their program. And all they know you by is a numeric identifier. They give that to the appropriate jurisdiction in that jurisdiction. That detective can even communicate back and forth with you knowing who you are or where you are. it's a. It's a phenomenal tool. It's a great tool but it's just one step you know not everybody has access to smartphones with cell service where they can use an app like that. So you know. There's a lot of assumptions that people have access to technology that that don't right. It's a step forward. It's a great tool but it's obviously there. There's a lot of other things that need to happen. I think the first thing is the will. I mean this requires resources deep pockets and we know they just made a vaccine in a years time. I mean there's a lot of resources thrown at that if you want change it's going to cost money and that's what it always comes down to right. Yeah and the will. The list of missing indigenous people from washington state is available on the state patrols website. We're gonna put a link on ours as well scene of the crime. Podcast dot com. And if you have information about a crime or concerns about a loved. One from an indigenous community will also have information on our website about how to contact patty and dawn. Tribal liaisons from the state patrol. Please share their contact numbers information. Because that's how this works. We hear from the public. We respond and we do the best we can to bring. Revolution has been seen questions about why. We haven't put the photos online but people know that we have to have a something signed to be able to do that. We can't take other people's photos on their web pages but there's a family member would like they're missing persons on their contact us. Let us know and we will get them. The stop design the release. Get up there. So we're moving in the right direction but this work is far from over earth. Feather sovereign is once again working with state lawmakers to create more supportive services for the victims of these violent crimes in native communities or calling it the. Bring them home bill in one of the sections. We wanna give to families the right to be able to pray over their loved one that when they're found murdered. I know that are native. American people would really hold Issue released sacred. But i also believe that other religions smae also want the right. Another section is like a red thunder alert. It's almost like amber alert. But for missing native american people sit a putting their cases on the back burner. They'll be able to put them on the front. Another section created a hotline. And then we're going to attach say like a red hand krant to the missing hotline sticker. The sex trafficking sticker were women who are being six traffic though is that right handprint and the call number one. They're able to get into a safe spot in possibly be saved and then the final step is creating like a a healing center. Porsche would receive all these services drug and alcohol treatment because sometimes intertwined was trafficking transitional services possibly housing so that she'll begin a whole again so we hope people who live in washington state. They call their legislators as some of the support that bill. It'll be up for vote in twenty two so next year. They're going to be voting on that and like you said. Hopefully we don't see them using finances as a reason not to move forward. Yeah i mean all of the things that she said. It's like yes we don't already have value. I mean the red thunder. i mean. it's like yeah. I just got one before. I came here about amber lee. I'm sure you probably got it to. They're very effective and talk about a way to build trust with the native american community but also to let predators no like. Hey we're watching. Yeah we're we're we're all coming together and saying this is important to us and we put resources towards things that are important to us and you're not going to get away with this anymore. Yeah yeah well for earth feather. It's about more than just righting. Past wrongs this is about creating a safe space for her children. And our children's children. I was back on my childhood where i was doing a lot more. I was riding my bike. I was playing outside. I was climbing trees and my children. Now it's like they're afraid to walk to the park near afraid to leave my side at the grocery store. I don't feel like things have really changed. I just think that there's more of an awareness of the issue and for emily joaquin's who likes to look at the issue through a wider lens. Teaching her daughters about the plight of missing and murdered indigenous. Women isn't just about understanding the problem but about aknowledging the allies that they do have around them and teaching them how to reach for those helping hands so can continue to move things forward in a more positive way. Because i can now point two different instances in places that people do care that people are trying to bring awareness that people are trying to help solve and so when i approach this topic i like to talk to about an historical aspect because i like to show them that. There were people for one hundred sixty five years praying for us to how solutions praying for us to be able to get to a point where we can talk about our safety where we can talk about the things that have happened to us in a way that can bring more safety and protection for not only ourselves for everybody around us and i teach them that because i tell them that one day you might have to speak in you know and sometimes they told me like i can't hear anymore. I don't want to see anything really pizza. Yeah walk off. So i would be very aware of their boundaries. What feels comfortable. I really enjoyed our conversations with emily. Maw sheen's with the folks from the state patrol with earth feather. I mean it was really educational for me and it really helped me learn concrete steps that i can take myself to move this issue forward. So we're going to be releasing these full interviews so that maybe you can listen as well and and and learn more about the situation and what you can do. Yeah i was so incredibly grateful. You know it's it's really difficult hearing because it's a different history than maybe we're aware of. Yeah and so it's a it's a learning curve but also one of the things that i love about being a reporter and talking to people is really getting their perspective and really listening. You know walking in their shoes. There's no better way to try to understand a person's journey than just listening to them. And so i was incredibly grateful. A lot of it was just listening to their stories with an open. Mind an open heart because going into this. You know like. I said earlier like didn't understand like what is it. Is it a serial killer. Is it a predators. Is it like why are there. So many women and girls and also there's there's men who boys that are missing. We chose to focus on the missing and murdered indigenous women but there are so many and two spirits. And i know that that term i taking that i let i. That's the thing. I think they would give it to you freely but i mean why. Don't you explain the two spirits because i felt the same kind of energy coming from you that that i felt when i heard it too. Yeah just that. They don't see transgender individuals. As being different they see them as being specialists having to spirits they have two sides to them and they celebrate that. I just love that idea. Yeah i do too. So as of april first. Two thousand twenty one. There were one hundred four names on the list of native people missing from washington state. They are angel be anderson. Isaiah j bagley. Douglas j becker dale blevins jaden s broadsword winter star a brown mother. Casey de burke marco a casio benito chamorro edith. M clever andrew l. cloth sabrina. Lynn coal void l. Coal growth kelsey collins. Charlie jay cortez. elias feet. colt theresa k. Davis matthew w dean it telea s diamond martin. G ellison at nisha h. God ios and kevin gallen willis felicity m garcia carlos. Gascon mary l. gates adams. See george brea goggles. Peter g. gray. Dorothy may gus ella set tegretol janice hannigan michael e hansen dean a harvey bryce f courtney see holden and l. hudson alexia huffman jerry. H highest hyacinths. Linda l jackson cordelia a james boon. Mary e johnson. Joe j. caclum david di keesey rookie f kindness. Lalita d kumar rosalita f longwy. We arca 'em losure lanista and shy lynn. Luce cloud l. c. e. luce rudy massias gabrielle. J. mccollum justin l. mcconnell. Bruce mcculloch george w mcdonald jessica. C mcdonald ginny a majo- elissa a macklemore. Joseph m mickey julie. k miller colin morris jordan l. moses travis and neely kaley am nelson jerry. Joseph a pacheco. Elton j. patch p merlin. Our pa- kudos borough and patrick anthony. C peters edwin. Own and george w cooler. Roberta j rains sierra c. Roberts demel a roofs anthony case. Sam daniel t samson carlotta sanchez e. Score now want. Sam harry de shale frederick j -sego lucas m snively roland j spencer tyler star aiden de gar reba our stewart teresa ten kielmann harris daisy. 'em tom and heath tamila d taylor brooke m thomas matteo s thompson. Eleanor m trujillo. Giovanni kate tyler justice a valley jasmine a and jordan. Jay viele a lease am-viet johnny l. wosse karen l. odessa l. white d'antoine zane j. wolf s kiro iraq. Hey y'all up if you are a family member of a missing person and would like their photo to be included on the washington state patrol missing persons website. Please contact 'em u. p. u. at w. s. p. dot w. a. dot gov you can also call eight hundred five four three five six seven eight and we will be putting up information on our website scene of the crime. Podcast dot com. I'm kim shepard with caroline soro and this is the scene of the crime finally spraying. And i'm saying goodbye snow. Hello adventure during the honda dream garage spring event. You can get epi deals on your favorite honda model. Ready to get rugged. Take the off road in an all wheel drive honda. Suv like the crv. Hr v. pilot aspect on redesigned rich. I wanna take spring road trip then. Checkout fuel-efficient turbocharged. Civic or record. Say goodbye to winter and hello to a new honda. Don't miss huge savings during the honda. Dream garage springbok now at your local honda dealer.

Coming up next