May 5th marked the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This day was declared by Senators Daines and Tester.
The community of Crow Agency officially celebrated the day Wednesday night to raise awareness. Dozens of people gathered at the multi-purpose building in Crow Agency to watch a documentary about families who are directly affected by this tragedy. The film called "When They Were Here" focuses on the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis in Montana.
Ivan and Ivy McDonald are the filmmakers of the documentary and say the focus of the film was to show indigenous women as being real people and not just statistics. The students from the University of Montana made the film last year and have been showing the film across the state.
"It's sort of grown into something a lot more," Ivan McDonald said. "This is probably our 11th or 12th presentation of the film. We've sort of become aware of the impact this little project has had, where we feel calls from all over the country."
Following the screening of the film, people were invited to tell their stories. Rose Harris spoke to the audience regarding the murder of her sister and spoke about how important it is to speak up about awareness and justice.
"I feel like we're slowly reaching together and slowly pulling together as one family and we're calling out for our loved ones because there are some that are missing and there are some that will never know," Harris said. "But at least their voices get heard on May 5th."
KULR-8 also spoke with Jennifer Whitebear who spoke in the documentary about her daughter who was murdered last year. She said she feels strongly that increased awareness of the missing and murdered indigenous women must continue.
"There's a lot of people that haven't been found and I thank god that my Bonnie was found and I pray that someday, somehow, they'll be able to find their families," Whitebear said.
The McDonald's hope to make the documentary a part of a bigger project this fall.