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Indigenize OU plans action to raise awareness about missing and murdered indigenous Women

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From Jamie Black's TheREDressProject.org.
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Indigenize OU will hold a rally Thursday, November 12 at University of Oklahoma Norman campus to raise awareness about the crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in North America.

The rally is being held in solidarity with the actions of First Nations groups across the US and Canada calling attention to the human rights crisis.  According to Amnesty International and Canadian First Nations groups, indigenous women are murdered and abducted at such a high rate, it represents an urgent human rights crisis in North America.

In March 2015, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued a report calling the Canadian government’s lack of action on the murder and disappearance of aboriginal women a “grave violation.” 

The report states that the Canadian government According to representatives of the UN’s Committee to End Discrimination Against Women, “The violence inflicted on Aboriginal women is often rooted in the deep socio-economic inequalities and discrimination their communities face and which can be traced back to the period of colonisation.”

According to figures from the US Department of Justice, about half Native American women in the United States have been victims of domestic violence or have been raped. Native women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average.  In Canada, 60 percent of the 3000 missing women cases involved Native Women.

Indigenize OU along with the Native Sorority Gamma Delta Pi, will bring attention to crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women by recreating Winnipeg Artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project on the South Oval of the OU Norman campus. The project displays red dresses in public spaces, hanging and empty and unworn, to symbolize the thousands of cases of disappearances and murders over the years.

Many cases remain unresolved.  Similar actions will be taking place at other North American universities throughout the month of November.

For Indigenize OU organizer, Ashley Nicole McCray, raising awareness about violence against indigenous women is both personal and political. The crisis has touched members of her family and fellow tribe members.  McCray’s relative, Rose Downwind went missing in late October. 

Downwind, a granddaughter of the American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, went missing in her home town of Bemidji, Minnesota.  Authorities say foul play is suspected in her disappearance and have named two persons of interest in the case.  One has been arrested. 

McCray noted that Downwind is just one of many MMIW from around the Turtle Island area of Minnesota.

The REDdress action at OU’s South Oval will begin at 9:00 am on Thursday November, 12.

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Casey Holcomb

Casey Holcomb is a writer, independent journalist, and policy advocate based in Norman, Oklahoma...

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