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Dallas proclaims May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day

Dallas City Council Member Omar Narvaez stands in a room at city hall with Jodi Voice Yellowfish and Christy Swimmer McLemore after the city proclaims May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day.
Pablo Arauz Peña
/
KERA News
Dallas City Council Member Omar Narvaez with Jodi Voice Yellowfish and Christy Swimmer McLemore after the city proclaims May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day.

The city's skyline will light up in red Thursday night to honor missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

The City of Dallas is honoring the Native American and Alaska Native community by proclaiming May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day. The day is recognized on the birthday of Hanna Harris, a Native woman from Montana who was killed in 2013.

Speaking at City Hall Thursday, Dallas City Council Member Omar Narvaez said the proclamation is part of a promise city leaders made to the community when they recognized Indigenous People's Day.

"It's indicative that we as council members... don't just represent our largest core demographics, that we make sure that we recognize and represent even the smallest of demographics here in the city of Dallas," Narvaez said.

A nationwide report found more than 9,500 missing persons were identified as Native American or Alaska Native in 2020.

"I hope that we can get this to stop," Narvaez said. "This is reprehensible behavior, that should not be happening, especially to the community."

Jodi Voice Yellowfish is the chair of MMIW Texas Rematriate, a group that serves as a resource for the Native community.

"We're here for not just the process of when someone is missing, but when and if they return, more often than not people return," Yellowfish said. "That's just the beginning of their journey. Maybe that's the first time they feel heard or seen or are able to ask for help."

Christy Swimmer McLemore is Cherokee. Her missing granddaughter was found with the help of MMIW Texas Rematriate.

“Today is a good day," McLemore said. "It's a good day to be alive. It's a good day to breath. It's a good day in spirit as well. This proclamation means a lot, especially to me to my heart."

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at parauzpena@kera.org

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