Featured photo: The family of 15-year-old Neveah Kingbird, who went missing from the Nymore area in October 2021, speaking to attendees.
Hundreds gathered and held ceremony to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women and people in Bemidji Friday.
The awareness event, organized by MMIW 218, began with a run and walk through the Nymore area, where two Indigenous Bemidji teens, 15-year-old Neveah Kingbird in 2021 and 17-year-old Jeremy Jourdain in 2016, were last seen.
Families of local missing and murdered people shared stories and carried signs during the event, with Tamika-Jo Andy sharing a poem by her sister.
Some speakers at the event spoke on violence against women elsewhere in the Americas, like Guatemala and Brazil.
In a proclamation for “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives,” by Gov. Tim Walz Friday, he cited a 2020 report from the Minnesota Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force.
While American Indians make up approximately 1.1 percent of the state’s population, American Indian women and girls represented 8 percent of all women and girls murdered in the state between 2010 and 2018.
The proclamation also calls for Minnesota to address the systemic causes behind disproportionate violence against Indigenous peoples.