(Riverton, WY) Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Wind River would like to give recognition and thanks to those who helped make Saturday’s MMIP March for Justice possible.
“It was very powerful, very healing,” said Nicole Wagon, MMIP Wind River Task Force Coordinator. “The Healing Riders, Eagle Drum Group, Medicine Wheel Riders, Wyoming MMIP Task Force, Mary Headley giving our Invocation, those who marched for their loved ones and shared their stories…so many stepped up, even at the very last minute, to help and to give their support in many ways.”
Wagon said that this year’s Healing Riders made an impact on the march participants. “The significance of the horse with no rider is that they are riding for all MMIP,” she said. “Even though they are no longer with us…they are still riding with us, and we still ride for them. They will not be forgotten.”
The Fox Nation news team covered the march and rally, conducted interviews, and “will be airing it sometime in June,” said Wagon. “I appreciate all media that were present at the march and thank those who helped with awareness on the murdered and missing issue. This is real, this isn’t over, and it’s not going away. Justice and healing can only come by continuing on with the work and being their voice…their voices will not fade away.”
The next steps forward for MMIPWR will be presented at the Wyoming Murdered and Missing Task Force Community Engagement Meeting on Wednesday, May 17 in the Cottonwood Room at the Wind River Hotel & Casino. The all-day event is free, and will include a public forum, speakers from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, panels by local providers, survivors, and family members, a youth and young adult panel, and a brainstorming session. Go to the MMIP Wind River website for information and how to RSVP.
“Today is the day to say the names of these people who were taken from us. Our family..our loved ones that had no choice with their life. It was taken from them. We need justice. Yes, we’re a reservation town, but we need justice. It’s time. We see a lot of our women disappearing every day, not only here but on reservations and large cities that are situated next to reservations, and it has to stop. The disrespect of our femininity…it is taken from us, and used and abused, until they can’t take [any] more and they’re killed in their home…I hope and pray my Arapaho people see it and I hope they get up and say something and help.” – Mary Headley
“All of my Wind Sisters will be up here on their motorcycles (on July 31) to help the community get started. We’re their voice…we’re voices for them, the ones who are missing. If we could just help each other, stay strong together, that helps out a lot. But we are their voice, we need justice…we need to help support some of these mothers, these families. We will say their names, over and over again.” – Corinne Tuma, Medicine Wheel Riders
“They need to be remembered, they need to be honored because they were a part of us. They were a part of our community. They were a part of our people. Always, always look out for one another. Respect one another. Love one another. That’s what I want to stress as Native people. Look out for one another…if you don’t know where your loved one is, look for them. Life is precious, life is too sacred, and life is short.” – Francis Blackburn, Eastern Shoshone Victim Services
“They’re not numbers. They’re not statistics. That’s why we were chanting, ‘Say their name!’ It’s powerful. It’s human nature to talk about our loved ones. We need to continue to talk about them. It’s important, and they live in our hearts. May we continue to stand together in making a difference. We have an epidemic occurring across our reservation as we speak. We need to come together for solutions. How do we make it better? What are we going to put in place to make it safe? My grandchildren drive to that…not to give up hope. I feel that, as adults, we’re obligated to make it better.” – Nicole Wagon
“Nothing is being done. Other people ask me…they hear about it and say ‘why isn’t anything being done about it?” I told them that the FBI said they didn’t have enough evidence, but they didn’t really work their hardest on it…’m just totally disappointed that nothing is being done about it. I’m not going to lie; it still really hurts to talk about it, but I’m trying to get on with my life. I know that them going to jail or prison isn’t going to bring him back, either, but they should be held accountable at least. And not just with my son…I’m pretty sure there are other families going through the same thing that I am, and still nothing is being done. They’re still free to go and do as they please, hurting people. But I’m not going to give up, and I still plan on getting justice for my son” – Kathy Sunrhodes
“There were some of those days that I couldn’t stop crying…it touched my heart. I pictured, what if it was reversed, and I had to worry about him? I probably couldn’t handle that pain, that worrying, that anxiety that he’d have to go through. It’s been a little over a year that this happened, since then the trauma or PTSD…a lot of things when down through my life and I just kind of hit rock bottom after that. So the year’s been kind of rough, but I’m trying to get through it and take one day at a time and actually seeking counseling right now. It’s been a long year of my life, but I gotta be here for this guy. He’s everything to me. I hope you guys find comfort for the ones who are still missing.” Mikee Enos and Baby Mikee
MMIP Wind River would like to thank the following supporters, partners, and donors:
Wyoming Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Force
Sydney Allred, Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence & Assault
Barbara Greene, Big Horn County Newspapers
Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority
Sara Robinson and Family
Liz Hodge, Arapaho Voice
Eustice Day, MMIP T-Shirts
Northern Arapaho Eagle Drum
Healing Riders Destiny Sage and Donny Watt, Jr.
Betty Matthews MMIP Star Quilt
Medicine Wheel Riders Corrine Tuma
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (WCADVSA) Sara Robinson, LaDawn Olsen ~ Sound System
Eastern Shoshone Victim Services
Francis Blackburn, Tasha LeClair ~ MMIP banner
The Breadboard of Riverton Sandwiches
Smith’s Food & Drug, Riverton MMIP Cake
City of Riverton Kyle Butterfield, Brian Eggleston
Erin Ivie, Fremont County Coroner
WY Department of Transportation
County 10 Vince Tropea, Coffee Time
For more information about MMIP Wind River, visit their website at MMIPWindRiver.org or their Facebook page.