High school track star runs to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women

Via:  1stwarrior  •  3 months ago  •  11 comments

High school track star runs to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Even without the three gold medals, one silver medal and the sportsmanship award she earned at the Class 1B state meet in Washington, Rosalie Fish would’ve been impossible to miss when she took to the track in late May.

This was by design and it worked as flawlessly as her strides against the competition at Eastern Washington University’s campus.

Fish, a member of the Cowlitz Tribe and a senior at Muckleshoot Tribal School, dedicated her performance at the meet to the murdered and missing indigenous women — a group that’s been gruesomely attacked and grossly overlooked. With a red hand print covering her mouth and lower half of her face, along with “MMIW” written in red paint on her leg, the message was loud and clear.

Fish was reportedly inspired to spread awareness through her track meets after seeing Jordan Marie Daniel run the Boston Marathon in honor of MMIW,  according to the Seattle Times.  After the two connected via social media, Daniel encouraged Fish to use her platform to further the message.

“I was passionate about the issue, and I was passionate about running,” Fish told the Seattle Times. “Jordan Daniel showed me that I can do both.”

According to the United States Department of Justice, indigenous women on some reservations are 10 times more likely to be murdered, and  rates of indigenous women being killed or trafficked are significantly higher than the rest of the U.S. population.  The Justice Department has also found that one in three Native American women have been raped or experienced an attempted rape while 506 indigenous women have disappeared or been killed in the United States since 2016.

Fish wanted to make sure those numbers, and the faces behind them, weren’t forgotten.

Both her message and her runs were impossible to ignore. Fish placed first in the 1600-meter race as well as the 800 and 3200.

As her high school career comes to close, Fish has no plans to give up running. She will attend track powerhouse Iowa Central Community College next year. The Tritons have earned 15 championships in men’s and women’s track and field since 2010 in both indoor and outdoor classifications.

“I wasn’t sure about college. I’m not a great student,” Fish said. “I’m not excelling, I can struggle a little bit sometimes. [Iowa Central coach Dee Brown] told me I have potential and he wants me to run. I said running is the only thing I like in school, so if I can do that in college, that might make it pretty bearable.”

Wherever running takes her, she knows she’s competing for more than just herself.

“As a Native runner, it goes without saying you run for Native people,” Fish said. “You have to realize you represent Indian Country. Nobody is going to listen to me. As a teenage girl nobody has to care what I say. But when I run about it, people will notice.”


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1  seeder  1stwarrior    3 months ago

According to the United States Department of Justice, indigenous women on some reservations are 10 times more likely to be murdered, and  rates of indigenous women being killed or trafficked are significantly higher than the rest of the U.S. population.  

Justice for Native Americans is a travesty - and no one seems to want to put an end to the "massacre" that is continuing over the people.  Native women, on reservations, are 10 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be murdered than are non-Natives.  65% of Native women on reservations are being abused/raped.


2  JohnRussell    3 months ago
“As a Native runner, it goes without saying you run for Native people,” Fish said. “You have to realize you represent Indian Country. Nobody is going to listen to me. As a teenage girl nobody has to care what I say. But when I run about it, people will notice.”

She sounds like a great young woman.  The native people are at a constant disadvantage in national media coverage. Their main concentrations are not in national media centers. Once in a while some Hollywood people get activated for a native cause like the pipelines, but in general there is not enough visibility. I'm afraid that deep inside a lot of white people they are ashamed of what their ancestors did to the natives in taking all their land and so now they would rather just not see what is going on now. 

3  seeder  1stwarrior    3 months ago

You know, there's a lot of truth in what you say John.  As on many other posts regarding Natives, there seems to be the standard question of - "well, we didn't do it so why is it our problem?"  What is not seen is that Natives are just like them to the extent that they are also humans and people.  True, their cultures, traditions and heritage are different, but guess what?  So is the Hispanic, Asian, European, African, Australian, Pacific Islanders, etc., and when in those countries, visitors, for the most part, honor and respect those cultures, traditions and heritages.

We're not asking for reparations - all we're asking for is equal treatment under the laws, honoring the Treaties that took our lands and respect for our cultures, traditions and heritage.  It ain't that hard.

3.1  JohnRussell  replied to  1stwarrior @3    3 months ago

To acknowledge that there are problems in the way Indians are treated would require that the initial cause of the problems (displacement of the Indians) be also acknowledged. A lot of people would just as soon keep that issue out of sight. 

4  Kavika     3 months ago

The situation is as bad in Canada for indigenous women. 

The stat's for rez assault are staggering. It should be noted that 71% of sexual assaults on native women on the rez are committed by non Indians. 

Native women are especially in danger when entering a town that borders a rez....

Sadly my experience with this is first hand so to speak. A couple of years ago my friends grand daughter was murdered by her ex husband. She had restraining orders against him but it did no good. She was kidnapped by him and a buddy of his and they killed her and tried to dispose of her body by burning it. It was gruesome beyond description. 

The case made the headlines throughout MN and much of the Indian world...Not much in the non Indian media which is strange since her grand father is quite well known nationwide. 

Kudos to Ms Fish. 


Steve Ott
5  Steve Ott    3 months ago

A picture of the poster she created for the meet. It has the image of the woman to whom she dedicated the race and information.

I only wish I had half her spirit and strength of character.


Steve Ott
6  Steve Ott    3 months ago

Canada must not ignore Indigenous 'genocide', landmark report warns

Canadians can no longer turn a blind eye to the “genocide” of Indigenous peoples in the country, a landmark report on missing and murdered women has concluded.

Indigenous communities across the country have for decades attempted to convey the depth and scope of a tragedy that has haunted thousands of families.

Read more

As many as 4,000 Indigenous women and girls are believed to have been killed or gone missing in Canada over the past 30 years – although the true number of victims is unlikely ever to be known.

On Monday the findings of a three-year inquiry were released at a solemn ceremony in Quebec, attended by victims’ families, survivors, Indigenous leaders and senior government officials.

“This is an uncomfortable day for Canada,” said the prime minister, Justin Trudeau . “We have failed you. We will fail you no longer.”

The inquiry’s final report, a 1,200-page catalogue of historical and contemporary injustices, concludes that decades of policy and state indifference amounted to genocide against Indigenous peoples .

The report’s authors were blunt in their assessment: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention … This is every Canadian’s responsibility not to turn a blind eye.”

If only America could/would do the same.

7  Kavika     3 months ago

A New Study on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Highlights Challenges

Chelsea Dennis November 21, 2018

missing-women.jpghttps://nonprofitquarterly.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/missing-women-336x224.jpg 336w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" > “ A participant in the Greater Than Fear Rally & March in Rochester, Minnesota ,” Lorie Shaull

November 14, 2018;   Associated Press

An alarming number of Indigenous women and girls disappear or are murdered each year. The absence of consistent, standardized reporting on the issue has prevented researchers from gaining a true understanding of the problem. However, a new report released by the   Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) , a tribal epidemiology center, aims to shed light on the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

Entitled “ Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ,” the report identified 506 cases across 71 cities. The cities included in the report were selected based on whether there was a significant population of urban American Indians, a large number of MMIWG cases, or an urban American Indian health center affiliated with UIHI.

Researchers Annita Lucchesi and Abigail Echo-Hawk assert that the number likely represents an undercount, given the amount of data that seems to be missing. While the institute requested records spanning from 1900 to the present, two-thirds of the cases included in the report occurred between 2010 and 2018, with the earliest case documented in 1943.

While the researchers consider their findings a snapshot of the true scope, their findings fill a critical gap in knowledge. Prior to UIHI’s report, most research focused on reservations despite census data showing that the majority of Native American and Alaska Native people reside in cities. By targeting urban areas, the organization was able to highlight how poor data collection, lack of persecution, and institutional racism are factors that also occur off reservations as well.

The report was released on the heels of   growing national attention   and pending legislation at the state and federal level. Earlier this year,   NPQ   covered Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Washington’s   role in coordination of the anniversary Women’s March in Seattle. In June,   Washington state passed legislation   mandating the collection and analysis of data on MMIWG throughout the state by June 2019. And, last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs voted to send Savanna’s Act to full chamber for consideration.

The bill is intended to improve data collection, including requiring annual reporting on the number of MMIWGs, establishing guidelines for handling the cases of missing Indigenous people, and expanding tribal access to federal crime databases. However, as Lucchesi and Echo-Hawk point out, the bill is not expansive enough to aggregate the data needed to create sound policy and to protect Native women and girls living in urban areas. Currently, the bill would set reporting mandates for federal law enforcement but not urban areas and municipalities. The exclusion of urban areas from the act means that MMIWG, including Savanna LaFontaine-Greybird, after whom the bill is named, would not be included in data collection efforts. Furthermore, failure to include urban areas in reporting would allow violence against this vulnerable population to continue.

Just as important to the study were the significant challenges encountered while attempting to obtain case records. Nearly half of municipal police departments failed to respond at all or within the designated time frame required of public disclosure requests. Additionally, racial misclassification was common, with some victims classified as “white” (the default when race is unknown) or “Hispanic” [sic]. Often, Native women and girls from tribes that are not federally recognized were not identified as Native at all. Despite race typically being used as a classifier when crimes are reported, nine cities were unable to identify Native American, Alaska Native, or American Indian people in their database.

In some cases, agencies provided incomplete or confusing records. For instance, in Seattle, UIHI received an updated list after the homicide unit discovered that the letter “N” was used for “Negro” and not “Native American” as recently as the early 1980s. By combing through social media, news reports, missing persons databases, and family sources, the organization was able to find an additional 153 cases that were not included in law enforcement records.

In addition to assessing the difficulty in obtaining records and how cases were tracked, the UIHI also focused on how reporting by the media contributes to the issue. Of the 506 cases documented, 95 percent were never covered by national or international news outlets. Of the coverage they could find, Lucchesi and Echo-Hawk noted that 31 percent of outlets used what is considered “violent language,” which is defined as “language that engages in racism or misogyny or racial stereotyping, including references to drugs, alcohol, sex work, gang violence, victim criminal history, victim blaming, making excuses for the perpetrator, misgendering transgender victims, racial misclassification, false information on cases, not naming the victim, and publishing images/video of the victim’s death.” Such reporting can cause additional harm by perpetuating negative stereotypes of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Furthermore, the lack of sustained reporting minimizes the issue and limits efforts to increase community dialogue on how to improve safety for all who go missing.

The researchers provide several recommendations including more funding for research, implementing enforceable data collection methods such as notifying tribes once someone goes missing or is murdered, and using guidelines created by the Native American Journalist Association to evaluate stories for bias. Researchers hope the implementation of such measures will prevent American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls from disappearing “in life, the media, and in the data.”—Chelsea Dennis

8  seeder  1stwarrior    3 months ago

Steve - sadly, as all of us know, the U.S. will never step up and admit their failures with the Native People - never.

Steve Ott
8.1  Steve Ott  replied to  1stwarrior @8    3 months ago

I know 1st. I just get...so angry. And when I get angry enough to see red, well, the result is never good for anyone

9  dave-2693993    3 months ago

In the first place, it is totally ridiculous how the situation came to be in the first place.

People driven from their homes across as much as thousands of miles on foot, IN THE WINTER, as tens of thousands of them die while driven like cattle to lands once considered useless, and were useless in the economy of the time.

Treaty, after treaty, after treaty broken, re-interpreted, re-defined or just yanked right out from under them. Non-natives allowed to move on to these lands and own land. Break laws and were outside of the jurisdiction of the tribes to which the land was supposed to belong.

Why is this even a thing.

Houston, we have a problem.


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