May 5 honors missing and murdered native women - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

May 5 honors missing and murdered native women

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

The U.S. senate passed a resolution two days ago to make today, May 5, 2017, a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.

Senator Steve Daines arrived in Lame Deer to let the town know about this resolution. He also joined the march held today in honor of a native woman who was murdered almost 4 years ago.

Over a hundred Native Americans marched today in Lame Deer. According to a study by the Department of Justice, in some tribal communities, American-Indian women face murder rates that are more than ten times the national average. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide is the third leading cause of death among American-Indian and Alaskan women between 10 and 24 years of age. Senator Daines explains why this is important to him.

"Well, this is important to me," said Daines. "It's cause of the impact this has on families, our communities, and the lack of justice we have right now for missing and murdered Native women across this country. We have to stand up and fight for them."

It was a march in remembrance of Hanna Harris, a native woman who was raped and murdered almost four years ago.

"Me and my grandson, we went up and seen Hanna," said Melinda Harris, mother of Hanna Harris. "Went to Hanna's grave this mornin' and said a little prayer up there and told her to come and watch over us and our family and be with us today."

"We not only shed light on our family, but we're shedding light on other families as well," said Rose Harris, Hanna's sister. "We're making awareness. We're, you know, getting not just our community involved, but other communities."

Senator Steve Daines showed up to the event in support of Hanna and the missing and murdered native women and girls to show they are not forgotten.

"This is a really bittersweet day today," said Senator Daines. "This is the birthday of Hanna, she would've been 25 today. But this is a day of remembrance. We passed a resolution of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. This is a national resolution. A day of remembrance for missing and murdered Native women across our country and Hanna Harris is really the face of the effort here."

The community all joined together to remember Hanna and to celebrate this day being recognized throughout the nation.

 "It's not only a day for us as Northern Cheyenne's, but all across Indian country, we've had so many women and girls that have been murdered and not- by the time we got compiled our list for just our reservation and awareness of that, I think we had about 32 names of women that have been murdered or missing," said Rynalea Whiteman Pena who was a friend of Hanna's family.

A story that ended in tragedy is now a beginning of remembrance and significance.
 

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