Jodi Voice Yellowfish: The Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis
Jodi Voice Yellowfish (Muscogee Creek, Oglala Lakota, and Cherokee) spoke about the history and current day realities of the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women crisis on Oct. 24, 2023.
Yellowfish is founder and chair of the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women Texas Rematriate, a Dallas-based organization that helps Indigenous families search for and bring home missing and murdered relatives, to support and offer healing processes to the missing and murdered and their families, and to advocate for social change.
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[00:00:00.840]I'm Ashley Wilkinson.
[00:00:02.790]I'm the director and curator of the museum.
[00:00:05.490]Thank you all for joining us today for our talk
[00:00:07.950]by Jodi Yellowfish
[00:00:09.480]on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis.
[00:00:12.420]This is part of the Center for Great Plains Studies,
[00:00:14.850]Paul Abelson lecture series.
[00:00:17.970]I'd like to begin by acknowledging
[00:00:19.740]that the University of Nebraska is a land grant institution
[00:00:23.280]with campuses and programs on the past, present,
[00:00:26.640]and future homelands of the Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe-Missouria,
[00:00:31.290]Omaha, Dakota, Lakota, Kaw, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples,
[00:00:37.800]as well as those of the relocated Ho-Chunk, Sac and Fox,
[00:00:41.610]and Iowa peoples.
[00:00:43.440]The land we currently call Nebraska has always been
[00:00:46.740]and will continue to be an indigenous homeland.
[00:00:50.310]Please take a moment to consider the legacies
[00:00:52.620]of more than 150 years of displacement, violence,
[00:00:57.420]settlement, and survival that bring us here today.
[00:01:06.540]This acknowledgement and the centering
[00:01:08.280]of indigenous peoples is a start
[00:01:10.650]as we move forward together.
[00:01:14.340]We invited Jodi to speak today about this important topic
[00:01:17.550]in conjunction with one of our current exhibitions,
[00:01:20.190]Supporting Indigenous Sisters:
[00:01:21.840]An International Print Exchange.
[00:01:23.940]It's currently on view in the gallery behind you.
[00:01:27.390]This traveling exhibition was a collaboration
[00:01:29.820]between 16 female artists of indigenous
[00:01:32.550]and non-indigenous backgrounds who came together
[00:01:35.400]to create prints to bring awareness
[00:01:37.200]to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis.
[00:01:40.140]Catherine Prose, one of the co-organizers of the project
[00:01:43.530]and one of the artists included in the print portfolio,
[00:01:46.140]graciously lent us her portfolio to display here.
[00:01:49.380]And she introduced us to Jodi.
[00:01:51.510]We're very grateful to Catherine for this introduction
[00:01:55.020]and to all of the artists who participated in the project.
[00:01:58.260]Jodi also wrote a statement that accompanies the exhibition,
[00:02:01.500]so please take a look at the show,
[00:02:03.210]if you haven't already done so.
[00:02:05.610]This exhibition will be on view through December 16th.
[00:02:09.450]Now, before I introduce Jodi, I'd like to acknowledge
[00:02:12.360]that tonight we have with us Grace Johnson,
[00:02:14.940]the state of Nebraska's inaugural liaison
[00:02:17.220]for missing and murdered indigenous persons.
[00:02:19.560]Grace, if you wanna let everyone know you're here.
[00:02:26.813]She was appointed by Attorney General Mike Hilgers,
[00:02:29.670]and she's an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.
[00:02:32.880]And she has extensive experience working
[00:02:34.620]with native communities.
[00:02:36.300]In this role, as the liaison,
[00:02:38.190]she will coordinate with local, state, tribal,
[00:02:40.920]and federal entities in reporting
[00:02:42.870]and investigating missing and murdered indigenous persons.
[00:02:46.380]Thank you for joining us tonight, Grace,
[00:02:48.300]and we're grateful for the important work you'll be doing.
[00:02:51.840]Now I'd like to introduce tonight's speaker.
[00:02:54.720]Jodi Voice Yellowfish is Muscogee Creek, Oglala Lakota,
[00:03:00.090]Born and raised in Dallas, Texas,
[00:03:02.070]Jodi is a product of the US government's relocation program.
[00:03:06.000]She attended Haskell Indian Nations University
[00:03:08.460]in Lawrence, Kansas,
[00:03:09.960]where she received her associate's degree in social work
[00:03:12.990]and studied for her bachelor's degree
[00:03:14.760]in Indigenous and American Indian Studies.
[00:03:18.060]Jodi is one of the founders and the chair
[00:03:20.580]for MMIW Texas Rematriate,
[00:03:23.310]she's on the steering committee
[00:03:24.540]for Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation,
[00:03:27.630]and she is a commissioner
[00:03:28.740]on the Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission
[00:03:31.020]for the City of Dallas.
[00:03:32.760]She's also a wife and an adoptive parent.
[00:03:35.670]Please join me in welcoming Jodi Voice Yellowfish.
[00:03:51.708]So I was fortunate enough today to do a presentation
[00:03:56.167]in one of the classes at the university today.
[00:03:58.920]And I mentioned how I forgot to open with a prayer.
[00:04:03.660]And so I would like to invite Phyllis Stone,
[00:04:06.870]who is (indistinct) Lakota.
[00:04:09.480]She's going to be offering a prayer
[00:04:12.930]because the work that we do, and you'll learn, you know,
[00:04:17.130]when I start to speak a little bit more, (chuckles)
[00:04:18.930]why the work is considered sacred.
[00:04:20.610]And even within our organization meetings and events,
[00:04:26.310]we open with a prayer because we speak names,
[00:04:30.870]we bring those names into our space,
[00:04:33.000]and that turns the space sacred
[00:04:35.577]for the time that we're there.
[00:04:37.140]And I'd like to invite Phyllis to do that.
[00:04:46.411]If you want me.
[00:04:55.461](speaking in foreign language)
[00:05:01.559](speaking in foreign language)
[00:05:06.480]We thank you (indistinct) for this gracious person
[00:05:10.440]to come and speak to us about MMIW.
[00:05:15.840]It is very important that everybody be aware of this,
[00:05:24.960]I'm very happy that I have a little bit of connection
[00:05:32.040]with my daughter in Denver who is working very hard on this
[00:05:35.970]and has helped establish an office in the capital
[00:05:42.840]to help with this, with our work.
[00:05:46.470]This person from Texas watched over her to (indistinct).
[00:05:52.830]Keep her strong in everything that she says.
[00:05:55.770]Keep her safe 'cause we need her.
[00:05:59.070]Watch over us (indistinct).
[00:06:01.890]Help us open our hearts, help us open our minds,
[00:06:09.510]help us open our ears, help us help ourselves (indistinct).
[00:06:18.818](speaking in foreign language)
[00:06:27.541]Thank you very much.
[00:06:28.500]Can everybody hear me alright?
[00:06:34.156]So once again, my name is Jodi Voice Yellowfish
[00:06:36.810]and I am like, was mentioned,
[00:06:38.880]I'm Oglala Lakota, Muscogee Creek, and Cherokee.
[00:06:41.933]And I wanted to mention before we start,
[00:06:47.310]as well as the image, that art up here.
[00:06:51.270]So our, the very first case that I ever helped was,
[00:06:55.620]a grandmother reached out to me and needed help
[00:06:57.960]after her granddaughter ran away, she was abducted.
[00:07:00.600]And that was the very first case I ever worked.
[00:07:04.710]And it was only like less than a week prior that we had kind
[00:07:09.750]of officially announced that we're going
[00:07:11.190]to be doing this work and trying to help our community.
[00:07:13.740]And in our organization, we believe in survivor leadership.
[00:07:18.810]We believe in that if you have the lived experience,
[00:07:22.020]you're an expert and you're the one
[00:07:23.880]that can tell us the needs and the resources
[00:07:25.680]that can change what's happening.
[00:07:29.100]Christie Schwimmer Macklemore, she is a survivor.
[00:07:33.480]She was the grandmother that contacted me
[00:07:35.790]and we've worked many cases together
[00:07:37.770]since she's now the vice-chair of our organization.
[00:07:41.040]And through her starting this work,
[00:07:44.190]she's began to go further into her healing journey,
[00:07:50.970]And a part of her healing is her artwork.
[00:07:53.460]And we try to mention and uplift her,
[00:07:58.020]her story that she shares here through her artwork
[00:08:00.240]and how we utilize that to express what we do in our work.
[00:08:04.350]And the two images, that's her and her granddaughter.
[00:08:08.520]And with all of the teachings that she learns
[00:08:11.490]from her culture and everything,
[00:08:12.780]she's incorporated all that.
[00:08:13.950]And we felt like that kind of conveyed what we wanted
[00:08:18.060]to encompass in our work.
[00:08:19.650]So I wanna make sure that as we utilize her artwork,
[00:08:23.460]that story is shared.
[00:08:28.170]Our mission for MMIW Texas Rematriate is to search
[00:08:31.020]for and bring home our missing relatives,
[00:08:33.210]to support and offer healing processes to our missing
[00:08:36.000]and murdered and their families,
[00:08:37.890]and to advocate for social change on behalf
[00:08:40.050]of all of our Indigenous relatives.
[00:08:43.740]So it's not just a missing person's case, right?
[00:08:49.380]We use the term relative and family a lot
[00:08:52.684]in our work, we, being a relocation site,
[00:08:58.650]and that means that there could be hundreds
[00:09:02.220]of tribes represented in one city and one community.
[00:09:04.890]And we may not all share the same cultural background
[00:09:10.320]and customs and things like that,
[00:09:11.850]but because we're community,
[00:09:13.290]we have that care for each other, that we're relatives.
[00:09:16.410]And that's what we try to offer through our work,
[00:09:19.170]is coming us as family.
[00:09:22.650]You know, it's not just the case,
[00:09:24.450]it's if they're recovered, you know,
[00:09:27.030]we help them with resources for the new journey they're on.
[00:09:32.280]If you're recovered after being trafficked,
[00:09:34.080]you're on a whole new journey for the rest of your life
[00:09:37.170]And we try to help in any way possible.
[00:09:41.370]And some of the things that we do are the simplest things,
[00:09:44.100]helping people file a missing person's case report,
[00:09:47.280]which that could be surprising,
[00:09:49.260]but I don't know anyone that has just off the bat,
[00:09:52.740]just knowing what to do in a moment of crisis.
[00:09:55.530]So we try to help do that.
[00:09:57.000]We try to support the family in any way we can.
[00:09:59.940]If that means supporting by financial help to,
[00:10:06.810]for printing costs, for gas money to buy groceries
[00:10:09.870]because they've used all their money on flyers already,
[00:10:13.559]we do these things and we do a lot of education
[00:10:17.130]and presentations like this when we don't have cases.
[00:10:20.070]And sometimes there's a big lull in case work,
[00:10:24.150]we can go months without actively having one open case
[00:10:27.870]that we're working,
[00:10:28.703]but we work in coalition with a lot of groups
[00:10:31.920]in Oklahoma specifically.
[00:10:33.690]At the moment, I think there's 12 MMIP organizations
[00:10:37.440]in Oklahoma alone.
[00:10:39.420]And I think that expresses the need for that work.
[00:10:44.430]That's a lot of the work.
[00:10:47.910]It's kind of hard to say
[00:10:49.650]that you're doing law enforcement work sometimes,
[00:10:56.130]and oftentimes you just hand over your work to them
[00:10:58.770]and then they go in and they handle it safely,
[00:11:01.740]like with the very first case that I helped with,
[00:11:06.090]she ran away but was abducted.
[00:11:09.630]And 10 days later when she was found, she was found with,
[00:11:15.120]I believe it was 10 other girls
[00:11:17.550]and they had all had their hair cut and dyed
[00:11:20.670]and they all had plane tickets to California.
[00:11:23.910]So that's something that I could not have combat and,
[00:11:28.560]you know, recovered them on my own.
[00:11:30.390]So there is a point where, you know,
[00:11:32.040]you do all of this legwork
[00:11:33.390]and then you really do hand over what you know
[00:11:35.910]to the right people and they can do it safely.
[00:11:39.210]With the distrust of like,
[00:11:40.620]law enforcement in our communities,
[00:11:42.510]it's really hard to put all of that aside
[00:11:44.640]and remind yourself that this crisis and the work is bigger
[00:11:48.660]than any one individual and any one individual's feelings.
[00:11:53.310]I often have to push my own biases aside
[00:11:56.160]to make sure I can get as much work done as we can.
[00:12:00.690]What is MMIW?
[00:12:02.010]So we have this slide even for our native communities.
[00:12:06.510]You know, I run across people all the time
[00:12:08.100]that they know our name is MMIW Texas or they question like,
[00:12:14.460]well, what is P?
[00:12:15.293]What is R, all this stuff?
[00:12:16.410]So I always make sure we state that here.
[00:12:19.650]So the name for this work and this crisis came
[00:12:24.270]out of Canada, I would say, personally,
[00:12:28.290]I think I remember maybe 2013 to '15
[00:12:33.840]where there was a name for what was happening.
[00:12:37.770]And it was upon the discussions
[00:12:40.560]of the disproportionate rates of violence
[00:12:42.360]that indigenous women were facing there.
[00:12:44.430]And so it started as MMIW because the focus started
[00:12:48.600]with the female population.
[00:12:51.630]But shortly after when grassroots organizations
[00:12:57.210]started doing the work,
[00:12:58.053]they were realizing that they were looking for a lot
[00:13:00.600]of girls, it wasn't just women or adult aged people.
[00:13:05.070]And so they added girls.
[00:13:06.330]And then the S when you see like G two S is two-spirit.
[00:13:10.680]And that includes,
[00:13:12.990]the work is inclusive of our non-binary relatives,
[00:13:16.320]our LGBTQ plus relatives.
[00:13:22.920]And after that, I mean,
[00:13:24.437]'cause we know that our non-binary relatives face a lot
[00:13:28.650]of violence at higher rates than the rest of us do.
[00:13:32.580]And then it came to, you know,
[00:13:36.030]our men and our boys and the crisis soon,
[00:13:39.690]or the name I guess for the crisis soon changed
[00:13:42.960]to encompass everyone.
[00:13:45.180]Our name is MMIW, but we help everyone.
[00:13:48.570]We've helped men, we've helped boys,
[00:13:50.160]we've helped our queer relatives navigate a lot
[00:13:54.240]of different situations.
[00:13:56.160]But it's important to understand that.
[00:13:57.660]And you do see MMIR for relatives.
[00:14:02.723]A lot of organizations are starting to use that and refer
[00:14:05.130]to that now.
[00:14:06.660]I was in Albuquerque last week or the week before,
[00:14:09.180]and everyone out there says MMIR and that was new to me.
[00:14:18.090]I haven't been a space where everyone, it's so common,
[00:14:21.240]but it felt really comforting to know that all
[00:14:24.150]of the people doing that work were so open
[00:14:26.760]to having so much care for the work that everyone
[00:14:31.800]is called a relative in that space.
[00:14:34.440]That was really, offered some hope and some promise
[00:14:38.910]that that much care was provided.
[00:14:43.680]I really like this slide because of not only the artwork,
[00:14:49.590]but you know, we are taught,
[00:14:52.050]we as women are sacred because we are life givers.
[00:14:54.840]And that's kind of how the work started for me,
[00:14:58.890]was specifically with women
[00:15:00.450]and specifically surrounding VAWA,
[00:15:03.660]the Violence Against Women Act
[00:15:05.730]and how it needed the reauthorization to happen
[00:15:09.030]at one specific time.
[00:15:11.070]And coming from a university, you know,
[00:15:15.720]college coming back home from being extremely active
[00:15:18.420]and everyone understanding things like VAWA,
[00:15:22.620]to coming back home to when, you know,
[00:15:24.630]you have a lot of elders and your parents may not know some
[00:15:27.840]of these things that you're really familiar with.
[00:15:29.940]I saw a need to have more discussion about things like that.
[00:15:33.930]And that led my sister and I,
[00:15:35.880]who is a co-founder of our organization.
[00:15:39.210]We both have a social work background,
[00:15:40.800]she has a background in working
[00:15:42.690]at domestic violence shelters and things like that.
[00:15:45.988]We grew up knowing, you know,
[00:15:48.540]there's a lot of violence in our community,
[00:15:50.460]but I cannot reference one time when I saw a relative
[00:15:55.560]or anyone in my community actually get resources, you know,
[00:16:00.450]call the cops when they were beat up, report anything,
[00:16:04.170]you know, go to a shelter to get,
[00:16:06.270]not only escape a situation, but get any kind of guidance.
[00:16:10.230]You know, I've never seen that.
[00:16:11.610]And so even as my sister was an adult working in that space,
[00:16:15.510]she would say like, I haven't seen, you know,
[00:16:17.940]any native people like, you know, what can we do?
[00:16:21.480]And so we started to combine or compile resources
[00:16:27.540]for our area shelters and how to call
[00:16:32.070]and places you could go for not only shelters
[00:16:35.940]to stay, but people often don't know
[00:16:37.950]that you can call a shelter and get assistance, you know,
[00:16:40.890]they can help you with a plan and how to be safe
[00:16:44.910]and how to move your children around the safe spaces
[00:16:48.930]and how to handle school and things like that.
[00:16:51.210]And so we started handling resources like that,
[00:16:55.110]and just slowly gaining more trust as adults.
[00:17:00.810]You know, I grew up in Dallas.
[00:17:02.910]That's my homeborn and raised.
[00:17:04.740]And so I have that trust from people knowing myself
[00:17:08.550]and my parents and my grandparents.
[00:17:10.080]They can say, you know, they know where I come from and,
[00:17:13.341]but as an adult, I had just come back from college
[00:17:15.420]and was trying to like kind of get my footing
[00:17:19.230]and get that trust again, and like,
[00:17:20.610]what can I do now as an adult?
[00:17:22.260]Like, you know, even though I had been an adult
[00:17:24.672]and you know, in native communities, you know,
[00:17:26.490]if you're a niece, if you're a kid,
[00:17:28.650]you're that for a very long time. (laughs)
[00:17:32.370]You are referred to as such for a really long time,
[00:17:34.830]and that's kind of the space I was in.
[00:17:36.840]And so getting that work started was really the beginning
[00:17:43.380]of uncovering need after need after need
[00:17:49.170]when you can't just talk about domestic violence,
[00:17:53.130]you talk about when somebody runs away,
[00:17:55.230]talk about, you know, how they escape, what can they do?
[00:17:57.750]And so that's really how it started,
[00:18:00.840]just this kind of, let's raise awareness,
[00:18:03.330]let's give some resources,
[00:18:05.490]and literally just a small campaign
[00:18:08.010]of that work really started the work that we do now.
[00:18:13.500]I asked for a prayer
[00:18:14.610]because I mentioned Savanna Greywind often
[00:18:18.480]in this work and we asked for those prayers
[00:18:23.130]because when you speak someone's name, you know,
[00:18:26.430]like I mentioned you call them into that space
[00:18:28.440]and I've reached out, you know,
[00:18:31.350]like online to family to be like, you know,
[00:18:33.840]this is the case that really got me working.
[00:18:36.810]Can I refer to her if I do it
[00:18:40.650]in a reverent and respectful way?
[00:18:43.290]And so I got the okay to speak her name in that way,
[00:18:46.860]so that's who I refer to when I do the work
[00:18:49.200]or when I present on the work.
[00:18:51.900]But Savanna was Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain Chippewa.
[00:18:55.500]And like I said, I hadn't been home too, too long,
[00:18:58.860]but I went to Haskell Indian Nations University
[00:19:03.360]and it's a privilege, it's an honor to have gone to Haskell.
[00:19:09.300]If you know the history of Haskell,
[00:19:10.980]you know the history of boarding schools in this country,
[00:19:15.300]residential schools and we know that those concepts
[00:19:20.490]of what the US government implemented
[00:19:23.040]have shaped generations of people.
[00:19:26.940]And you know, I have my father went to Haskell,
[00:19:31.320]I went to Haskell and my sister and my niece,
[00:19:32.850]I have cousins there now.
[00:19:34.170]So it's a very special place.
[00:19:36.030]And I refer to Haskell now because, you know,
[00:19:41.970]Haskell really shaped who I am, really changed my life.
[00:19:44.610]I have connections with people.
[00:19:47.813]They're my relatives now,
[00:19:49.380]my brothers and my sisters and I can travel,
[00:19:51.540]I can literally travel anywhere and there's somebody
[00:19:53.460]that's gone to Haskell or has somebody there now.
[00:19:57.240]I did a panel last week and I was so surprised.
[00:19:59.880]I mentioned Haskell and there was somebody way in the back
[00:20:02.040]that was like, yeah, like, Haskell.
[00:20:05.190]Then she said, she told me who her son was and yeah,
[00:20:07.620]I used to party around with her son and now he's right
[00:20:10.190]in the cultural center.
[00:20:11.220]And so it's like, we're really small,
[00:20:13.680]like all over the country,
[00:20:14.670]we are connected in so many ways,
[00:20:16.590]but Haskell is a place where you're able
[00:20:20.340]to really see people blossom.
[00:20:23.580]And I know people use the word blossom
[00:20:25.860]and it kind of gets like, eh,
[00:20:27.300]but it's the perfect way to describe somebody
[00:20:29.730]when they're comfortable with themselves
[00:20:32.040]and they start to grow.
[00:20:32.970]And you see a lot of people fall in love.
[00:20:35.310]You see a lot of families start.
[00:20:36.750]And my niece at this time was just leaving Haskell,
[00:20:41.460]and she was pregnant and she was starting her life
[00:20:43.590]with her family, and so was Savanna.
[00:20:48.090]And I think that's what got me,
[00:20:50.460]was she reminded me, not only of my niece,
[00:20:52.500]but of so many people that, you know,
[00:20:55.980]I had love for and cared for, because of Haskell.
[00:20:59.580]She was young, she was pregnant,
[00:21:01.440]just starting her life with her partner.
[00:21:03.990]They lived in an apartment complex
[00:21:05.520]and her kindness was exploited.
[00:21:10.530]Her upstairs neighbor asked for some help.
[00:21:14.160]She was a seamstress and she wanted help
[00:21:17.880]with like measurements, you know, making a garment,
[00:21:20.010]you know, and she obliged, she went to her apartment and,
[00:21:26.070]you know, went up there to help
[00:21:27.150]and she was never heard from again.
[00:21:29.520]She went there, she was murdered in that apartment.
[00:21:32.970]Her baby was cut from her womb and she was tossed
[00:21:35.550]in a nearby river.
[00:21:38.220]And I, this case was or is one that's referenced a lot
[00:21:43.500]because it is the stereotype of what can go wrong
[00:21:48.720]with any case.
[00:21:53.100]Her family tried to report her missing, report wasn't taken,
[00:21:57.270]they would say she was probably off partying,
[00:21:58.740]she'll probably return.
[00:22:01.260]And who knows best?
[00:22:02.880]You know, the family does,
[00:22:03.960]the family knows when something's wrong.
[00:22:05.550]They know that she, you know,
[00:22:09.480]she was ready for this new life to start,
[00:22:11.640]that she wouldn't just not tell somebody.
[00:22:15.420]And the community activated itself to help that family
[00:22:21.240]and searched for her,
[00:22:22.980]and they're the ones that found her, not the police.
[00:22:27.690]And that is the case when everything just happened,
[00:22:31.830]and the more and more I read,
[00:22:33.990]I was just shook and I couldn't shake that feeling.
[00:22:36.810]I felt like, Savanna was my niece, was my relative.
[00:22:40.980]And I told my sister, if I feel like that,
[00:22:44.580]if you feel like that, our community feels like that too,
[00:22:48.570]even though she's a different tribe,
[00:22:49.770]even though she's far away.
[00:22:52.170]And that was the case, you know?
[00:22:54.270]And we went to our local IHS facility, at the moment,
[00:22:59.070]they were called the Urban Inter-Tribal Center
[00:23:00.570]and now they're called Texas Native Health.
[00:23:02.520]But they were hosting a, like a fall festival type event.
[00:23:08.790]And I had went to the director at the time and told her,
[00:23:12.450]you know, what we were feeling, what we wanted to do,
[00:23:14.160]like we wanted to host a, hold a vigil for people
[00:23:19.410]that were maybe feeling this way.
[00:23:21.240]And they thought it was a great idea.
[00:23:24.930]And they mentioned that they were having a butterfly release
[00:23:28.650]and they're like, we can do this,
[00:23:29.670]this will be yours, you know, y'all can do this now.
[00:23:32.550]And so when we had that aspect put in place,
[00:23:35.730]we put a call out in our community for names of people
[00:23:39.690]in our community that were either missing at the time
[00:23:43.560]or had been lost to violence in the past, things like that,
[00:23:47.670]that they could just speak their name
[00:23:50.430]or they could share their name with us
[00:23:51.810]and we would do it for them.
[00:23:53.250]And when we did that, we learned a lot of names.
[00:23:58.020]You know, I grew up in Dallas
[00:23:59.040]and I hadn't heard these names,
[00:24:00.090]I didn't know these stories and I didn't know there was,
[00:24:03.360]you know, cases of, you know, an auntie of mine
[00:24:06.030]on my husband's side, one of her good friends, you know,
[00:24:08.820]I didn't know about this, you know,
[00:24:10.080]the violence that they were familiar with.
[00:24:13.080]And so we did that and we gained even more trust
[00:24:20.100]from our community.
[00:24:21.570]And I think that was when we,
[00:24:25.320]it kind of solidified our intent and that it wasn't just,
[00:24:30.150]oh, we wanna raise awareness, we wanna, you know,
[00:24:33.450]let's all wear our red and you know,
[00:24:36.090]hand prints and things like that.
[00:24:37.590]It was a little different than that.
[00:24:39.030]It wasn't just that kind of awareness.
[00:24:40.710]It was a time where a space to heal was kind of offered.
[00:24:44.640]And we started to learn a lot about our community.
[00:24:48.300]And at the time, there was five of us,
[00:24:52.080]including my sister and I, and one of them, he was told by,
[00:24:57.990]I believe his mother, but an elder in our community was,
[00:25:04.110]she shared that we've always had this,
[00:25:08.400]we just never had a name for it.
[00:25:10.530]And so that's how important to understand MMIW
[00:25:15.510]and what that really is, you know,
[00:25:18.000]how important it is to people.
[00:25:19.380]It's not just the current case of somebody missing
[00:25:22.500]or the the current case where somebody might end
[00:25:24.900]up trafficked or might not come home,
[00:25:26.790]this has opened up generations of people
[00:25:30.360]to share their stories.
[00:25:32.310]And we, I don't think there's a member in our organization
[00:25:36.030]that hasn't been touched by this,
[00:25:37.800]hasn't had a missing person's case or had somebody murdered.
[00:25:42.633]And, you know, within this work, my family,
[00:25:46.170]we've had two cases.
[00:25:49.770]Somebody right now is missing in Oklahoma,
[00:25:51.150]that's our member's relative.
[00:25:53.790]It's just, that's the reality.
[00:25:56.940]And having spaces like that vigil
[00:26:00.600]really helps our community understand it's okay
[00:26:05.100]to acknowledge that reality, that it's a painful reality.
[00:26:08.940]And this work is kind of that,
[00:26:12.810]it's kind of a drop in the bucket at times,
[00:26:15.630]but it's there and it's yours, it's the community's work.
[00:26:19.320]And that really came from this case.
[00:26:23.610]And that's why I always wanna be reverent in that and oh,
[00:26:29.621]what do I do now?
[00:26:36.205]It's like I didn't touch it that time. (laughs)
[00:26:38.340]Okay, so moving forward.
[00:26:42.150]So I'm a big fan of Professor Sarah Deer.
[00:26:45.510]I refer to the book "The Beginning and End of Rape" often
[00:26:49.890]within the work I do.
[00:26:51.090]I am really fortunate to have the opportunity
[00:26:54.750]to speak in spaces like this and speak in university
[00:26:58.710]and academic settings often.
[00:27:00.930]And I always refer to Sarah, not only 'cause she's Muscogee
[00:27:03.750]and I'm Muscogee, but her work is amazing.
[00:27:05.760]But what helps me really convey the history,
[00:27:12.720]especially to non-Native audience members,
[00:27:15.240]it's Native women and girls have been disappearing
[00:27:19.710]That statement alone helps me convey
[00:27:23.790]how much history you're going to have to unpack
[00:27:25.800]to understand this crisis.
[00:27:28.200]You know, colonization was violent
[00:27:32.070]and that's not the way it's taught in history books,
[00:27:35.580]especially not in public schools.
[00:27:39.960]It's often shared as, you know,
[00:27:42.060]we moved and so they can move in kind of situation.
[00:27:45.030]That was not the case, you know, it was very violent
[00:27:47.970]and colonization didn't have an end date, right?
[00:27:51.840]We didn't get our land back.
[00:27:53.730]We're not living in the ways we once knew.
[00:27:57.240]It changed everything about us.
[00:27:59.520]And I like to refer to that 'cause it simply states
[00:28:05.220]how long this violent history has affected us.
[00:28:11.460]And so here I have Sacagawea and Matoaka,
[00:28:15.660]and actually I was walking around and wondering
[00:28:18.630]if outside was supposed to be Sacagawea,
[00:28:21.400]'cause it's Lewis and Clark outside the building.
[00:28:26.370]So I have them on here,
[00:28:27.990]a tragic irony that Sacagawea is one
[00:28:32.880]of the few Indigenous women non-tribal people
[00:28:35.850]on this continent recognize.
[00:28:38.040]I have this slide in our presentation
[00:28:40.410]after the last statement
[00:28:41.580]because it helps unpack a little more about history.
[00:28:46.830]It helps understand that not only its colonization violent,
[00:28:53.430]but it's been fantasized and fetishized
[00:28:56.850]in many different ways.
[00:29:00.660]Matoaka, a lot of people don't know that name.
[00:29:02.670]People aren't familiar with it at all,
[00:29:05.670]but people are familiar with Pocahontas,
[00:29:11.250]that was her real name.
[00:29:12.450]Pocahontas was not her real name.
[00:29:14.610]Her real name was Matoaka.
[00:29:16.500]And in a lot of MMIW organizing spaces,
[00:29:22.020]she's referred to as our first MMIW and,
[00:29:25.560]which is a really sad and twisted thing when you think
[00:29:28.020]that there's a Disney movie that has Pocahontas
[00:29:33.360]being an adult falling in love and singing with raccoons
[00:29:38.014]And it was really a case of she was trafficked,
[00:29:42.660]you know, she was a child, she wasn't an adult.
[00:29:47.640]In some spaces, I've heard people say, you know,
[00:29:49.500]like John Smith, you know, raped her and people are like,
[00:29:52.020]hey, you weren't there, how do you know that?
[00:29:53.727]And they're like, well, a 13-year old can't give consent,
[00:29:56.400]you know, to start a life like that.
[00:29:58.770]And that's all you need to say about that, right?
[00:30:02.730]That lets you know what was happening at this time,
[00:30:05.670]and that kind of shows the understanding of colonization
[00:30:12.240]and understanding the colonial gender-based violence
[00:30:16.800]that led to the crisis we have in front of us today.
[00:30:21.510]The understanding that women were strong and sacred
[00:30:26.280]And that to break up a community and a people,
[00:30:29.370]you had to separate the children from the families as well.
[00:30:32.670]All of this came from land and wanting more
[00:30:37.620]and not viewing us as humans.
[00:30:42.750]And this really helps people understand that history.
[00:30:47.760]So I've been asked like, you know,
[00:30:51.720]why do you have to ruin Pocahontas?
[00:30:55.320]And I was just like, are you seriously asking me
[00:30:57.300]that after I just explained this?
[00:30:58.890]And I was like, I get it.
[00:31:00.450]Like, I'm a Disney fan.
[00:31:01.920]I love Disney.
[00:31:03.330]I have Disney Plus all year round,
[00:31:04.890]like watching all kinds of movies.
[00:31:07.410]But it's like, there's a history to everything
[00:31:09.960]and sometimes that history is not kind
[00:31:11.730]and not what you want to know,
[00:31:13.440]but it helps you understand today
[00:31:15.180]and it helps you understand how to have empathy
[00:31:18.480]and care for those that aren't like you.
[00:31:22.320]And so I always make sure I talk about them in these spaces,
[00:31:30.870]and again, you know, we talked about life givers are sacred,
[00:31:34.410]but you know, you don't have to be a life giver
[00:31:38.370]to be sacred.
[00:31:39.450]If you're a human, you know, you're a relative,
[00:31:41.700]you are sacred, your life is sacred and your life matters.
[00:31:45.090]And the space, when we talk about these things are sacred
[00:31:48.960]because, you know, I mentioned this today too,
[00:31:53.010]that I get to speak a lot in university settings
[00:31:56.460]and I like to do so,
[00:31:59.700]university classes are a really powerful space.
[00:32:03.360]There are people that are on the cusp of being, you know,
[00:32:07.200]You know, we could have people in a class
[00:32:09.720]that are the next people that write policy
[00:32:12.600]and doctors and things like that,
[00:32:15.420]people that we will be working with to have a better life
[00:32:19.170]at some point, you know?
[00:32:22.560]But oftentimes, university setting is a space
[00:32:24.960]where it's foreign to me.
[00:32:27.868]You know, I never went to some private university anywhere.
[00:32:30.960]You know, I went to tribal college on the other side
[00:32:35.820]where the opposite end of KU in Lawrence is, you know,
[00:32:39.600]it's just, we're out in the wetlands
[00:32:41.670]and they're up on the hill.
[00:32:44.280]So it's different even for me,
[00:32:45.870]but in these spaces, and I mentioned this today in class,
[00:32:51.120]was that these spaces are full of very affluent,
[00:32:55.650]often white people.
[00:32:57.120]And the people that have the most disdain for me, saying,
[00:33:01.320]you know, our people are sacred and referring to them
[00:33:04.020]as relatives and saying the data is sacred
[00:33:06.537]and that you can't Google this
[00:33:09.720]and get the information you need for your project
[00:33:14.220]or your work or your thesis, it doesn't work like that.
[00:33:17.070]And when I say things like that,
[00:33:18.780]it's always the young white men that just, they hate it.
[00:33:21.750]They're so annoyed, they cough and they sigh,
[00:33:24.483]they roll their eyes, they quit taking notes
[00:33:27.150]and they quit writing.
[00:33:28.332]And I share that because it's just a foreign concept
[00:33:33.630]to a lot of non-Native people, that our people are sacred,
[00:33:36.420]that your life is sacred, that you're a relative.
[00:33:38.730]But that is at the core of what we do,
[00:33:41.700]is understand that and hold that close to us,
[00:33:43.680]that we're looking for a relative
[00:33:45.600]and you're not just gonna use their name or their face
[00:33:49.740]or find the data just to appease your need for, you know,
[00:33:55.784]a paper or something like that.
[00:33:59.670]And there are many contributing factors to this crisis,
[00:34:04.350]like I've mentioned history,
[00:34:06.600]but there are a lot of things I think,
[00:34:11.550]and we really were very intentional with the wording
[00:34:14.550]and stuff for this slide because there is a lot
[00:34:16.680]of history to unpack a lot when it comes to colonization
[00:34:20.850]and understanding that colonial gender-based violence
[00:34:24.210]really never stopped.
[00:34:25.620]You know, we have, you know,
[00:34:27.630]I've been in this world of public speaking
[00:34:31.470]and things since I was a teenager.
[00:34:34.860]I've been doing different kind of activism
[00:34:38.550]since I was probably about 15 or 16, things around mascots.
[00:34:43.140]And you know, we read the Dallas Independent School District
[00:34:45.750]of racist mascots when I was 16
[00:34:47.310]because we started telling our story about our names
[00:34:50.130]and why these images hurt us.
[00:34:53.430]You know, things like that.
[00:34:54.840]But those images have been okay,
[00:34:58.500]at least all of my life and beyond,
[00:35:00.810]because of gender-based violence,
[00:35:02.400]because of colonization, that dehumanization just,
[00:35:05.340]it never stopped, you know,
[00:35:06.960]it's okay to have mascots like for the Washington team,
[00:35:11.970]things like that because we're not often viewed as human.
[00:35:16.230]We're viewed as this in the history, in the past,
[00:35:20.580]things like that.
[00:35:21.720]And, you know, that's just not the case,
[00:35:25.740]you know, so we try to,
[00:35:27.630]with our presentations and things like that,
[00:35:29.490]we try to help people unpack that 'cause it is a lot.
[00:35:34.020]But I think understanding history and colonization
[00:35:36.630]is the base of understanding this crisis
[00:35:38.760]that we combat today.
[00:35:41.700]Another factor is energy extraction.
[00:35:45.480]So with energy extraction, that means, you know,
[00:35:48.780]oil pipelines, wind farms, things like that.
[00:35:53.580]Who builds these things?
[00:35:56.520]It's just, you know, these energy companies,
[00:35:58.260]they have contracts with all these men that come
[00:36:01.860]from all over the country and they work for weeks
[00:36:05.700]and months in one spot.
[00:36:07.740]And oftentimes they're housed
[00:36:09.000]in these things called man camps.
[00:36:10.800]And man camps are this land full of uniformed trailer homes
[00:36:16.410]and it houses all these, you know,
[00:36:18.900]single individuals for a very long time.
[00:36:21.540]And oftentimes, you know, if you can do that work,
[00:36:24.690]you really, maybe not necessarily not have a family,
[00:36:28.170]but are definitely not connected to a community
[00:36:30.960]and things like that.
[00:36:32.790]They're often single individuals.
[00:36:34.380]But these man camps bring not only trafficking,
[00:36:38.880]but gambling and drugs and things like that,
[00:36:42.600]into very rural tribal communities that aren't ready
[00:36:46.530]for that, that they're not ready to handle an influx
[00:36:49.710]of more drugs or gang activity or things like that.
[00:36:55.080]That's a really huge factor when it comes
[00:36:57.900]to being on tribal land.
[00:36:59.640]And in Oklahoma, just because, you know,
[00:37:02.280]wind energy is better than, you know,
[00:37:04.290]oil and gas and whatnot,
[00:37:05.460]that doesn't mean that they don't have man camps either.
[00:37:08.460]They do as well.
[00:37:09.660]In Oklahoma, that's what I've seen.
[00:37:11.280]I've seen that they're smaller,
[00:37:13.230]but they bring a lot of very unsavory,
[00:37:18.180]unsafe characters to communities that aren't ready
[00:37:20.280]for that and can't handle it.
[00:37:22.050]And in Oklahoma, I've seen how and heard the stories of,
[00:37:27.570]you know, cases where they're like, yeah,
[00:37:30.030]it's where all those guys go to party at this one motel.
[00:37:33.390]That's where she was seen last, or something like that.
[00:37:36.030]And that's the reality of what comes out of that.
[00:37:40.470]What you just described
[00:37:41.550]was 1492 all over again.
[00:37:45.390]And I think that's it,
[00:37:48.120]that's hard for people to not only acknowledge,
[00:37:51.630]but just understand like that's what it is.
[00:37:55.650]There's, like I said,
[00:37:57.210]there was not an end date for colonization.
[00:37:58.980]It just looks different, you know,
[00:38:00.930]it's not as outwardly violent, but in a way,
[00:38:05.087]or we wouldn't have these disproportionate rates
[00:38:07.740]of violence in our communities.
[00:38:10.140]And that leads me to lack of resources.
[00:38:16.200]I should actually change that to not only lack of resources,
[00:38:19.110]but lack of infrastructure in different communities
[00:38:21.493]to bring in the resources needed to combat these things.
[00:38:26.220]You know, I grew up in Dallas, which is a relocation site,
[00:38:30.090]and we've had the one small IHS facility since I was a kid.
[00:38:37.470]And the last numbers I read,
[00:38:42.510]how many clients they have that are registered with them
[00:38:48.390]and get help and get resources and whatnot,
[00:38:50.400]was about 75,000.
[00:38:52.830]And that has to be, you have to be a tribal citizen,
[00:38:56.460]you know, CDIB card,
[00:38:57.810]things like that to receive the resources.
[00:38:59.880]And so, and that's not saying how many tribes
[00:39:02.760]that represents, but I know that we need more.
[00:39:07.110]There's always more that needs to be done.
[00:39:11.250]You know, for a handful of years, you know,
[00:39:13.800]we've been crying around,
[00:39:14.700]that this place needs a social worker.
[00:39:17.550]Why do you not have a social worker?
[00:39:19.890]I don't know a family in our community
[00:39:22.200]that doesn't need a social worker. (laughs)
[00:39:25.620]You know, we are a community where we have the highest rates
[00:39:27.960]of children in foster care.
[00:39:29.850]You know, myself, I'm an adoptive parent and I had to,
[00:39:34.560]on every level of resources and help,
[00:39:39.840]I had to educate everyone from the hospital that was helping
[00:39:44.370]with kinship, emergency kinship to caseworkers,
[00:39:48.180]to guardian ad litems, to attorneys, to judges,
[00:39:50.670]to our advocates.
[00:39:52.260]I had to educate.
[00:39:53.370]And I got asked on every level to educate
[00:39:55.440]on the Indian Child Welfare Act.
[00:39:58.230]And if you can't tell me what it is, if I have to teach you,
[00:40:02.400]how are you gonna help me?
[00:40:04.110]How do everyone that's in charge
[00:40:07.140]of making resources available, how do they know what we need
[00:40:09.810]if they don't even understand it?
[00:40:12.990]So it's really hard just to say lack of resources
[00:40:16.950]because that infrastructure to help us just isn't set up,
[00:40:20.820]hasn't happened yet.
[00:40:24.240]But I am hopeful, especially in our community, you know,
[00:40:27.510]our crying around paid off.
[00:40:28.530]We got a social worker at the IHS facility now,
[00:40:31.740]and she's amazing.
[00:40:32.573]She's non-Native, but she has probably been one
[00:40:36.600]of the best non-Native allies I've seen in a while.
[00:40:39.630]She has a lot of experience
[00:40:41.670]and she is at every single event I go to, plus more.
[00:40:45.600]She's at all of the ones I don't get to go to as well.
[00:40:48.750]And she's trying to gain that trust
[00:40:51.240]because if you know our community,
[00:40:55.110]there is a lot of distrust.
[00:40:56.910]We don't always ask for help
[00:40:58.200]because oftentimes we're disappointed,
[00:41:01.800]but the next is not able to assert our tribal sovereignty.
[00:41:08.700]And that one's kind of loaded as well,
[00:41:11.490]because we can't really talk about our tribal sovereignty
[00:41:16.050]in a big city setting like Dallas, Texas,
[00:41:18.270]where I'm from, right?
[00:41:19.140]You know, at a relocation site,
[00:41:20.280]we don't deal with tribal headquarters and tribal politics
[00:41:23.010]and being on tribal land.
[00:41:25.650]But I think the biggest example of not being able
[00:41:29.520]to assert tribal sovereignty is how we on tribal land tribes
[00:41:35.310]are not able to always prosecute non-Native people.
[00:41:39.570]And you know, that stems from the belief
[00:41:42.840]by the US government that we cannot be unbiased,
[00:41:46.770]that we cannot be fair enough
[00:41:48.990]to prosecute a non-Native person.
[00:41:53.220]And that kind of allows for the worst of the worst
[00:42:01.950]to happen on tribal land.
[00:42:03.840]You know, you can come to tribal land and do what you need
[00:42:06.180]to do and get out of dodge.
[00:42:07.950]If you can get out in time,
[00:42:09.030]you're free because our tribal cops can't arrest you anyway.
[00:42:13.200]They can't do what they need to do to keep
[00:42:15.450]that community safe.
[00:42:16.320]And what I've seen from my experience,
[00:42:20.220]that also leads into how tribal law enforcement
[00:42:25.470]and all law enforcement really,
[00:42:28.140]if anything has to do with tribal land,
[00:42:30.660]nobody knows who's in charge.
[00:42:33.450]And with a missing person's case,
[00:42:34.860]time is the biggest factor.
[00:42:38.460]If you can get things done 24 hours, 30 hours, 48 hours,
[00:42:41.880]after that, it gets a little bit harder.
[00:42:44.490]But I've seen cases go beyond that,
[00:42:46.170]and still not have the right person in charge.
[00:42:51.270]Tribal, I've seen tribal cops say it's, oh,
[00:42:54.570]the county needs to do that,
[00:42:56.046]where this incident happened, that's outside, you know,
[00:42:59.700]County says, nope, that's tribal land.
[00:43:01.590]They both say call the FBI and I don't know how that works.
[00:43:07.050]That hasn't worked well in my experience either.
[00:43:10.530]I've done this exact presentation to the FBI headquarters
[00:43:13.140]in Dallas and I've asked them,
[00:43:16.650]who covers the reservations in Texas?
[00:43:19.470]And they said, we don't have any,
[00:43:21.360]we have three in Texas and one of them is the one
[00:43:24.660]that my husband belongs to,
[00:43:25.770]the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas there in Linton, Texas.
[00:43:29.250]And I mentioned that and they're like, oh,
[00:43:30.840]that's the new one, right?
[00:43:32.640]And I was like, how does that even work?
[00:43:34.530]You know, like, did you just hear yourself?
[00:43:39.510]And I know in that space,
[00:43:40.620]I know they felt dumb and I know they felt sorry.
[00:43:44.430]And they asked like, how do we, what do we do then?
[00:43:49.200]Like, you know, so I don't know if they've worked that out.
[00:43:53.730]I doubt that, but that's my experience talking to FBI.
[00:43:59.550]And also, you know, if you have,
[00:44:04.230]you'll have an agent that covers big areas,
[00:44:06.750]like so much, like the person that helps in Oklahoma
[00:44:14.280]covers a lot of Texas, if not all of Texas.
[00:44:17.850]And everybody is like, Jodi,
[00:44:19.860]you need to meet Agent Marcellino, he's gonna be great.
[00:44:23.040]He's gonna help and all this stuff.
[00:44:24.240]And it's like, all right, so we'll get connected.
[00:44:27.840]And I started texting and calling
[00:44:30.210]just so that he would get to know who I was, because like,
[00:44:33.420]I don't wanna have to introduce myself
[00:44:34.620]when somebody's already missing.
[00:44:36.030]I want you to get my text and get the flyer
[00:44:37.620]and then tell me what I need to do.
[00:44:39.990]So that's what I did.
[00:44:40.823]Got to know him, sent him a flyer.
[00:44:42.480]He is like, oh, Jodi, like you're not a tribal then,
[00:44:45.420]you know, like, I can't really do anything.
[00:44:47.220]I'm just like, what are, why are they, what? (laughs)
[00:44:50.070]Like what are you supposed to do?
[00:44:51.150]Why do you cover Texas?
[00:44:52.530]You know, if Texas isn't all tribal land.
[00:44:56.430]He's like, well, I can call the local police
[00:45:01.950]that took the report and tell them,
[00:45:03.810]you know, like, they're kind of like to be on alert,
[00:45:06.210]somebody's watching you, like do your job kind of thing.
[00:45:10.170]So that's my take on tribal sovereignty,
[00:45:13.350]not being able to assert it.
[00:45:14.610]And like I said, I am from a major city,
[00:45:19.170]so it is different for me.
[00:45:21.990]We have helped a couple of cases
[00:45:24.120]out of Alabama-Coushatta reservation
[00:45:26.910]and the tribal police there are,
[00:45:29.820]and the tribe is very open to letting us lead
[00:45:32.880]to providing the resources they can to connecting us
[00:45:35.400]to the right people.
[00:45:36.990]So that's also my experience as well.
[00:45:38.940]Like, I know on the grand scheme of things,
[00:45:41.970]asserting your tribal sovereignty is hard,
[00:45:44.040]but I have seen some hope,
[00:45:46.380]some promising acts of people wanting to do better.
[00:45:52.110]And of course, the Relocation Act of 1956,
[00:45:55.980]I have this on there and I have this on their last,
[00:45:59.010]because that's a lot to unpack too,
[00:46:02.160]understanding what the Relocation Act was.
[00:46:07.260]So the Relocation Act was basically assimilation
[00:46:11.730]under the guise of vocational training.
[00:46:16.740]Sign up and you can go to a city,
[00:46:19.080]we'll send you there, give you money, you can get training,
[00:46:22.410]you can get a job, you'll get housing.
[00:46:25.560]That really wasn't the case, you know,
[00:46:27.660]it worked for some people, but it wasn't as easy
[00:46:33.870]as it was stated to be or advertised to be.
[00:46:38.070]Dallas is a relocation city as well as Los Angeles
[00:46:42.690]and Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago.
[00:46:49.021]And if you go to these cities,
[00:46:50.760]there is pretty thriving Native community,
[00:46:55.290]very unique in that there's always hundreds
[00:46:57.360]of tribes represented, you know, things like that.
[00:46:59.430]That's how our, that's our community is.
[00:47:03.240]So I'm a product of that.
[00:47:05.130]My mother and her family came
[00:47:07.290]when she was middle school, aged to Dallas.
[00:47:09.960]Families were housed on one side of town
[00:47:12.540]in housing projects.
[00:47:13.530]And even the projects were segregated.
[00:47:20.580]You were put into the projects,
[00:47:21.990]but you couldn't live in the same building
[00:47:23.280]as a black family, as a white family, Mexican family,
[00:47:29.520]Natives were lumped in with the Mexican family or families.
[00:47:33.000]And my mom talks about like the culture shock,
[00:47:35.730]like she was so scared and she didn't understand anything.
[00:47:38.400]And my father came several years later on relocation program
[00:47:44.130]after he graduated high school institute.
[00:47:46.980]He signed up not fully understanding.
[00:47:50.010]And with my father, you know,
[00:47:53.400]he lived on the other side of town.
[00:47:54.930]Single people were on the other side of town,
[00:47:56.940]family's on the other side,
[00:47:57.900]and they didn't know about each other.
[00:48:00.240]And if that's not by design to disrupt tribal community
[00:48:04.830]or connection to the land, I don't know how to say that.
[00:48:07.770]You know, it's by design.
[00:48:12.240]And you know, people often ask like, you know,
[00:48:14.730]people always sound really proud to say they came
[00:48:17.790]I was like, it's not that they're proud to say that,
[00:48:19.680]they're proud to say they survived, that they're still here.
[00:48:23.910]You know, my father, he'll still stay back home.
[00:48:27.090]I don't have that, you know,
[00:48:29.010]I don't have that ancestral homeland connection.
[00:48:32.640]I was born in the city, I was born in Dallas,
[00:48:34.290]that's home, that's what I know.
[00:48:36.300]And I think that's kind of feeds into why I care
[00:48:39.780]to do the work there so much,
[00:48:43.140]'cause I do get asked about like tribal sovereignty.
[00:48:45.420]I don't have a good take on that,
[00:48:46.680]because that's not what I have to deal with, you know?
[00:48:49.710]But relocation, I have that as a contributing factor
[00:48:53.850]because we still learn stories of, you know, so-and-so came,
[00:48:59.820]but they didn't make it, they had to go back home,
[00:49:02.670]or so-and-so came and they got lost to party
[00:49:05.700]and they ended up unhoused there.
[00:49:08.940]You know, this happened.
[00:49:09.773]So-and-so was assaulted.
[00:49:11.460]I think they went back home.
[00:49:12.690]I haven't heard.
[00:49:13.523]You know, and this is like generations ago.
[00:49:17.880]And this really leads me to our work
[00:49:22.920]surrounding the unhoused population, you know,
[00:49:25.107]and our unhoused (indistinct),
[00:49:28.740]because we have a big population, especially in cities,
[00:49:32.550]especially in relocation cities
[00:49:34.440]of unhoused American Indian people.
[00:49:37.530]And I talk about that often
[00:49:39.810]because I grew up knowing just like a lot of Native people,
[00:49:44.610]there are a lot of relatives that are unhoused by choice,
[00:49:48.540]but that doesn't mean
[00:49:49.590]that because they don't have a home address,
[00:49:51.750]that they can't go missing.
[00:49:54.240]We had, you know,
[00:49:55.453]I grew up knowing that there are people there, relatives,
[00:49:57.780]you know, they come by, you treat 'em like family,
[00:50:00.060]you feed 'em, you do whatever.
[00:50:01.290]They come in, they shower if they go back, you know?
[00:50:05.400]And today, I know there's a lot of talk
[00:50:07.290]surrounding how that's a real foreign concept
[00:50:11.400]to a lot of people to be unhoused by choice.
[00:50:14.580]But that's not foreign to Native people, you know, at all.
[00:50:20.040]And there's a lot of talk now
[00:50:22.050]about how our connection to the land and trying to get,
[00:50:27.570]bring those things back into our way,
[00:50:29.250]like you're never homeless because if you're connected
[00:50:32.880]to the land, that's your home.
[00:50:34.950]And there are a lot of people
[00:50:36.240]that they are very intelligent individuals
[00:50:38.610]that they're like, they wanna live that life.
[00:50:40.230]And they are out and about.
[00:50:42.660]And sometimes, you know,
[00:50:44.250]that's not the safest lifestyle, but that's their choice.
[00:50:47.550]And they do have families.
[00:50:48.720]And yeah, that is a really foreign concept
[00:50:52.710]to entities like law enforcement.
[00:50:55.260]I know that is in Dallas.
[00:50:57.990]I've been told, you know, if hey, they're homeless,
[00:51:00.000]how are they missing?
[00:51:01.560]Like, yeah, they're missing.
[00:51:02.490]They have a family, they check in, they know where to go,
[00:51:04.590]they know how to be found and we can't find them.
[00:51:07.950]And it's kind of,
[00:51:10.440]I think kind of viewed as maybe a waste of resources
[00:51:13.620]And that's why our work is so important.
[00:51:17.130]We'll get that police report,
[00:51:18.570]we'll help you get that police report filed,
[00:51:20.640]and we'll start helping look for them.
[00:51:24.120]You know, the last case where it was something
[00:51:27.210]like that with an unhoused relative
[00:51:28.500]was somebody I caught a little brother.
[00:51:30.300]I grew up knowing them and they got lost to drugs
[00:51:32.250]and have been, you know, in recovery off.
[00:51:35.820]And they ended up on the streets, which is fine,
[00:51:38.400]you know, they check in.
[00:51:40.380]And at this time, they hadn't, it had been too long.
[00:51:43.590]It had been a pattern of when they check in,
[00:51:47.250]things like that.
[00:51:48.083]And even their kinfolk was like telling me like,
[00:51:54.810]Jodi, like, don't waste your time.
[00:51:58.500]And I said, well, like, you know,
[00:52:00.180]his mom's telling me, so that's who I'm,
[00:52:02.850]I'm not working with you, I'm working with her.
[00:52:04.860]She's the one that reached out for help.
[00:52:06.960]And to me, I just like, I couldn't believe that.
[00:52:10.650]I couldn't believe that they said like it was a waste
[00:52:12.600]of time, but we found, you know, he turned up, we found him.
[00:52:16.980]And you know, I was just talking
[00:52:18.990]about before the presentation began was some of our work now
[00:52:23.940]is connecting with the unhoused community.
[00:52:27.360]Because we were looking for him at that time,
[00:52:29.610]every little group of folks I talked to,
[00:52:31.860]if you had seen him, showed the flyer.
[00:52:33.960]And they're like, oh yeah, I've seen him.
[00:52:36.120]And we were building that trust,
[00:52:37.320]that talking to them for days in a row.
[00:52:39.060]And they would all say, oh, he needs to check in.
[00:52:44.312]I was like, yep, he needs to check in.
[00:52:45.740]That's exactly it.
[00:52:46.573]And that really got us thinking
[00:52:49.230]of how they were more resourceful to us
[00:52:54.330]than the police were.
[00:52:56.220]They gave us more details where to look.
[00:53:02.730]They're like, yeah, he's usually here.
[00:53:04.140]And then I could just see it on one of his faces,
[00:53:08.310]one of the guys, he was just like, oh,
[00:53:10.740]he's usually over here, but right now he's past this street,
[00:53:15.450]which means he's back doing drugs if he's past this street.
[00:53:20.220]And I hadn't referred to it like that in this work yet
[00:53:22.920]until, you know, that unhoused relative was very calm
[00:53:27.540]and told me like, he's like, I'll go check.
[00:53:30.180]Like, you don't want to go over there.
[00:53:33.180]You know, and I mentioned to you in our conversation before,
[00:53:35.130]you know, we have a new relationship
[00:53:37.350]with the police department in Dallas.
[00:53:38.820]And one time it was kind of like, you know,
[00:53:41.490]how can we help?
[00:53:42.323]What can we do?
[00:53:43.479]Can we show up?
[00:53:44.312]And I was like, I don't want you to show up with me.
[00:53:47.352]They're not gonna trust me.
[00:53:48.185]They're not gonna trust me, like maybe you can,
[00:53:50.400]maybe cruise by and see if I'm still here,
[00:53:53.430]if I come back to my farm, you know,
[00:53:54.900]but they're not gonna tell me what I need to know
[00:53:57.750]if you're with me.
[00:53:59.100]That distrust is real.
[00:54:00.660]And that really comes from things like,
[00:54:03.245]the Relocation Act, you know,
[00:54:06.270]that was a lot of not great stuff, it was assimilation,
[00:54:09.870]you know, at work.
[00:54:11.310]And one thing I forgot to mention too with my father,
[00:54:17.280]he signed up not knowing that if you signed up,
[00:54:19.800]you sign away your land rights.
[00:54:22.620]I found that out as an adult.
[00:54:26.700]He wasn't even sure that it was relocation at first.
[00:54:30.990]He explained to me,
[00:54:31.823]and I was working with an organization
[00:54:35.310]as a part of their yearly celebration.
[00:54:37.410]They do a lot of education,
[00:54:39.150]not so much the celebratory like kind of dancing and singing
[00:54:41.997]and stuff, they wanna like, have real conversations.
[00:54:44.520]And that year, it was relocation.
[00:54:47.477]And so I had them interview my father
[00:54:49.440]and we just started talking and we were doing some research
[00:54:51.990]and yeah, we found that to be true,
[00:54:54.330]that a lot of people signed away their land rights
[00:54:57.840]if you signed up on that program.
[00:54:59.430]A lot of people do not know that.
[00:55:03.150]But all of these things are factors
[00:55:05.550]to why I have to do this work, why we all do this work.
[00:55:10.620]And I like to share this image,
[00:55:14.820]that's actually the young girl at the very bottom,
[00:55:17.640]that's my mom's friend,
[00:55:21.510]they grew up in the projects together and she was,
[00:55:23.550]this was something she shared during that time
[00:55:25.140]when we were archiving their stories.
[00:55:27.000]And I like to share this because of what it says
[00:55:29.820]at the bottom, Dallas, Greek,
[00:55:32.190]Dallas sites, Greek Indian settlers.
[00:55:34.800]And she was so proud and happy to show
[00:55:37.590]and share and have us scan it and have us share it
[00:55:40.110]and things, and I was just like, I could not get over that,
[00:55:42.120]that little byline or whatever there.
[00:55:45.930]And it really solidified for me that, you know,
[00:55:51.630]our older folks, our elders,
[00:55:55.200]the concept of colonization and settlers
[00:55:57.960]and things or something that hasn't been taught,
[00:56:00.540]hasn't been talked about with them,
[00:56:02.580]there's a whole age of people that, you know,
[00:56:05.250]she did not see anything wrong with that, you know,
[00:56:07.860]very proud to show me that, you know,
[00:56:09.585]they were photographed and, you know, all of this stuff.
[00:56:13.410]And yeah, I like to share that image
[00:56:16.350]just 'cause I think it helps folks understand the depth
[00:56:19.290]of colonization in a program like relocation.
[00:56:26.880]And I mentioned earlier, you know, in university setting,
[00:56:30.900]a lot of people just, they want quantitative data
[00:56:34.980]and numbers and things like that.
[00:56:40.572]And that's just not possible, you know?
[00:56:45.270]And with Dallas, with the Dallas Police Department, I had,
[00:56:49.453]I just learned like in the past month that it is illegal
[00:56:52.920]to ask your race when you're being arrested.
[00:56:57.000]And I also learned, you know,
[00:56:58.590]about a year ago that there is not a box
[00:57:02.040]for American Indian when you're arrested.
[00:57:06.240]And they said, well, it's illegal, we can't ask.
[00:57:08.130]And I was like, wait, wait, wait, what?
[00:57:10.020]Like, so what am, how does that, they're like, we,
[00:57:14.340]I was like, y'all just guess and y'all pick one.
[00:57:17.910]And he is like, basically, and I was like,
[00:57:22.505]so what would I be?
[00:57:23.761]And he was like,
[00:57:24.594]you'd probably be either put down as white or Mexican.
[00:57:27.390]And I told him, I was like,
[00:57:28.223]do you see how that's why we don't have any accurate data?
[00:57:31.560]There's nothing that would help show true anything
[00:57:37.620]He's like, the only thing we can do is ask
[00:57:39.000]if you're a US citizen.
[00:57:41.190]And so a little light bulb went off and I was like,
[00:57:43.890]can you ask if they're a tribal citizen?
[00:57:46.200]And they were just like, whoa, maybe.
[00:57:50.045]They're like, let's see.
[00:57:50.878]And so we're working on that to see if that'll ever change.
[00:57:54.990]But like I stated before, you know,
[00:57:58.200]MMIW work and the data is sacred.
[00:58:01.770]We aren't going to just, you know,
[00:58:04.530]we're more than a number, we're more than just the case,
[00:58:06.930]we're more than a flyer.
[00:58:09.600]The data's never going to be right.
[00:58:12.030]You know, like I said,
[00:58:12.900]this violence has been occurring since 1492,
[00:58:16.590]probably even before, you know, nothing's been,
[00:58:20.070]nobody's keeping tabs on that, you know, like, you know,
[00:58:24.420]Matoaka wasn't even viewed as a case.
[00:58:26.400]You know, she's turned into Pocahontas and fetishized
[00:58:28.830]and singing and songs and toys and whatnot.
[00:58:32.100]And when I state that in university, really,
[00:58:37.110]I know it bugs people.
[00:58:38.310]But by the end of our discussion and time together,
[00:58:41.790]you usually understand why the data is sacred.
[00:58:44.790]And the data that I do feel okay with sharing
[00:58:49.980]is the MMIW database that was researched
[00:58:57.360]and compiled by Annita Lucchesi and Abigail Echo-Hawk.
[00:59:02.130]Abigail, I think, I don't know if she runs it,
[00:59:04.890]but I know she works for the Urban Indian Health Institute.
[00:59:07.770]And Annita now runs the Sovereign Bodies Institute and SBI,
[00:59:12.660]the Sovereign Bodies Institute, they house that,
[00:59:16.080]they hold that data that they collected.
[00:59:19.440]So the first MMIW database came from these two women
[00:59:23.760]doing the work.
[00:59:24.593]And Annita has a history dealing with geography and maps
[00:59:30.240]and making maps.
[00:59:31.410]And during this, she came up with the idea
[00:59:33.570]of like charting the data on a map,
[00:59:37.530]mapping out all kinds of law enforcement
[00:59:40.890]to call a tribal city everything.
[00:59:44.280]And they just started calling,
[00:59:46.380]they started calling about cases they knew,
[00:59:48.060]asking about cases.
[00:59:49.200]And that's how I feel like that's the best
[00:59:54.720]because these people had the care to do it
[00:59:57.900]and they had the intent and they had a goal.
[01:00:01.320]It wasn't just, hey,
[01:00:02.730]give us some of your information or something like that.
[01:00:06.990]But they do live up to the belief that the data is sacred
[01:00:10.290]because they just don't give it to anybody.
[01:00:13.440]Media ask, law enforcement ask,
[01:00:16.080]and they will not give the entire database to somebody
[01:00:18.270]that's not Native.
[01:00:20.340]They'll ask you why you need it.
[01:00:21.510]And if you can't tell them, you're not seeing any of it.
[01:00:25.530]And I think that really,
[01:00:28.950]really helps believe how it's sacred
[01:00:31.860]and how it needs to be respected.
[01:00:33.240]And it really hasn't been outside of that.
[01:00:37.860]But if you do need quantitative numbers
[01:00:40.140]and things to refer to,
[01:00:41.070]especially in the university setting,
[01:00:43.290]I recommend utilizing Sovereign Bodies Institute.
[01:00:50.370]And how to be involved with the MMIW, MMIP movement?
[01:00:57.240]We get asked this a lot
[01:00:58.980]and we've really had to change our conversation
[01:01:02.580]about what that means and what that looks like,
[01:01:04.260]how to be involved.
[01:01:05.760]And we always start with,
[01:01:08.490]be prepared to have uncomfortable conversations,
[01:01:11.610]be prepared to be triggered, be prepared to,
[01:01:16.230]like we have further down here to check your privilege.
[01:01:19.080]And that's not always just race.
[01:01:21.450]That doesn't mean, you know, just 'cause you're white,
[01:01:22.980]you have privilege.
[01:01:23.813]We know that, you know,
[01:01:24.646]that's a given in this society today.
[01:01:26.940]But if you're a man, you know,
[01:01:29.520]even in our tribal communities,
[01:01:31.410]you have a privilege, I do not.
[01:01:33.660]And I stated this earlier in tribal communities,
[01:01:36.240]we have a lot of guys that are all about women are sacred
[01:01:39.720]and matriarchs and whatnot,
[01:01:41.130]and they're not gonna pass me the mic
[01:01:43.080]to have a real conversation about this.
[01:01:45.570]So there is a privilege that comes with your gender.
[01:01:49.860]And so, and there's a privilege that I have
[01:01:53.040]that others don't have.
[01:01:54.150]I get to travel and talk about this
[01:01:55.500]and make connections that others in my community don't have.
[01:01:59.130]And I have to check that as well.
[01:02:00.357]And I check my privilege around understanding things
[01:02:02.970]like an Amber Alert.
[01:02:04.680]You know, we get a lot of people that are like,
[01:02:06.660]ah, somebody ran away, where's an Amber Alert?
[01:02:09.284]And I have to ask them like,
[01:02:10.137]do you understand how an Amber Alert works?
[01:02:12.840]There has to be evidence of an abduction that, oh,
[01:02:16.710]well, I didn't know that, you know?
[01:02:20.010]Or how to file a police report or how to be okay
[01:02:23.970]and not triggered when talking to somebody
[01:02:27.030]in a police uniform.
[01:02:28.800]That's a privilege I have that others may not.
[01:02:34.230]Be prepared to step back and not center yourself
[01:02:36.480]in the work.
[01:02:38.640]If you're Native, you understand all about savior syndrome
[01:02:41.340]and people coming in, wanting to be the savior.
[01:02:43.950]We don't need to be saved. (laughs)
[01:02:46.260]We're doing all right and we can leave this work.
[01:02:49.380]And if you don't let us lean
[01:02:50.820]and you don't let our perspective lead,
[01:02:52.950]then you won't understand how to help.
[01:02:56.730]And if you don't understand how to help, then you can't,
[01:03:00.630]what you're doing is probably the opposite
[01:03:02.370]of what you wanna do.
[01:03:03.990]You have to be patient.
[01:03:05.700]This work is very heavy, it's triggering.
[01:03:11.400]Every case, I feel like, well, majority of cases,
[01:03:15.660]even the very first case that I helped,
[01:03:19.860]I've seen that it's generations of trauma, assault, rape,
[01:03:25.440]runaway, and trafficking, addiction all in one home.
[01:03:28.980]I've helped cases where it's the teen, the parent,
[01:03:31.590]and the grandparent all in one home.
[01:03:33.840]The first case I helped with our vice-chair and her family,
[01:03:39.750]she's a trafficking survivor
[01:03:41.970]and her daughter was with pimps being prepared
[01:03:45.750]to be flown across the country.
[01:03:49.050]And so you have to be patient and listen.
[01:03:53.310]With that very first case,
[01:03:54.750]I realized that it's not just going to be me going
[01:03:58.950]into a space and helping somebody file a report,
[01:04:01.170]things like that.
[01:04:02.580]I have to, in all of us that do this work,
[01:04:05.820]not only in my organization, but every MMIW,
[01:04:11.340]they have to be able to balance that and ground themselves
[01:04:15.870]and be able to continue the work
[01:04:17.160]'cause it's triggering for them as well.
[01:04:20.100]Like I said,
[01:04:21.870]I've had cases where it's been my family members
[01:04:24.360]and all of our members, I believe, have had the same thing.
[01:04:31.290]Be prepared to listen, take the privilege,
[01:04:33.510]find the work already happening.
[01:04:36.390]I think this is probably my biggest one too,
[01:04:38.430]non-Native allies, is there's no need to reinvent the will.
[01:04:45.510]And every time I get to speak in a space
[01:04:47.940]that's outside of Dallas or Texas,
[01:04:49.860]even people wanna contribute,
[01:04:52.410]people wanna finance work and support work
[01:04:54.690]and things like that.
[01:04:55.980]And I've turned away really big donations
[01:04:58.410]before because I asked them,
[01:05:00.630]you didn't do the research to do this locally.
[01:05:03.870]There should be no reason that you're in Nebraska
[01:05:06.450]or Kansas or Washington,
[01:05:08.070]China donate to support MMIW work in Dallas, Texas.
[01:05:12.930]Today, I mentioned in the past couple
[01:05:16.230]of weeks I've been trying to connect with people in Nebraska
[01:05:18.870]to make sure that I can highlight who's doing the work here.
[01:05:21.780]And we have several people
[01:05:23.850]that I've connected with and like I mentioned,
[01:05:27.570]I reached out, started asking people,
[01:05:31.020]the MMIW, MMIP network is strong.
[01:05:33.660]There are a lot of people that are going
[01:05:35.280]to help a case, cases travel.
[01:05:38.010]Trafficking is big, trafficking is real.
[01:05:41.430]These cases go across the country,
[01:05:43.200]across state lines almost every time.
[01:05:47.610]And that network is real.
[01:05:50.813]that connection that's gonna do that work is so real.
[01:05:54.540]So if you want to support,
[01:05:57.240]you have to uplift the work that's already happening.
[01:06:01.560]We have the MMIP liaison,
[01:06:05.340]we have people with the Indian Center, I forget the name,
[01:06:12.000]present with us and just MMIP families,
[01:06:17.550]people that maybe wanna do the work,
[01:06:21.210]but they're trying to be connected.
[01:06:22.560]Like, let's see who wants to do this work together
[01:06:24.780]'cause it's a lot, it is undertaking.
[01:06:26.940]It is a lifetime commitment.
[01:06:29.310]It is, once you put yourself out there, you are it,
[01:06:32.520]you are the people that your community will turn to.
[01:06:36.270]We helped one case and we've gotten called for all
[01:06:38.780]of the contributing factors,
[01:06:41.190]somebody dealing with domestic violence,
[01:06:43.530]somebody dealing with suicidal ideations,
[01:06:45.360]somebody dealing with homelessness, a child's getting taken.
[01:06:50.100]We're an advocate.
[01:06:51.600]And I'm not a social worker, (laughs) you know,
[01:06:54.270]I get these calls in the middle of the night,
[01:06:55.860]we get text message, I'm like, who is this?
[01:06:57.660]I don't know this phone number, but they're asking for help,
[01:07:01.200]so we have to help.
[01:07:03.060]So the best thing to do is if you want to support the work,
[01:07:05.910]you find who's doing the work locally,
[01:07:08.730]that is the best thing that's going to help this crisis
[01:07:12.180]in your area.
[01:07:14.790]Utilize your connections.
[01:07:16.620]I come from an organizing activist background,
[01:07:20.700]and so I have news desks and reporters like in my phone.
[01:07:27.240]I probably annoy people, but that's something,
[01:07:30.780]that's that privilege that I have that people
[01:07:32.909]in my community don't have that experience.
[01:07:34.920]And that okay, being okay with talking to media
[01:07:39.720]or law enforcement, things like that.
[01:07:43.500]If you do not file a missing person's report
[01:07:46.410]and have a case number, media will not share a flyer.
[01:07:50.790]And a lot of people do not know that.
[01:07:53.550]Center for Missing and Exploited Children
[01:07:55.380]will not take that case on either.
[01:07:57.840]Clearing houses foundations that help offer resources
[01:08:01.560]to search for people, we work with, for the One Foundation,
[01:08:04.890]Puma Foundation in Texas.
[01:08:06.390]And if there's not a missing case report number,
[01:08:10.890]they can't help.
[01:08:14.940]Could you talk about NamUs?
[01:08:18.064]Okay, so I'm trying to think of the name.
[01:08:22.950]It's unidentified. (laughs)
[01:08:26.010]I can't remember the whole name, but,
[01:08:29.550]so NamUs is this database you can actually as a citizen,
[01:08:37.200]you can sign up, you can have access to this
[01:08:40.110]and you can input information.
[01:08:42.330]And what this does is it helps with DNA, you can be,
[01:08:48.450]if there's a case, you can input information
[01:08:53.280]and you can get it sent out that will help people,
[01:08:57.360]if it's a cold case, that lets people know that it's kind
[01:09:02.130]of open to help with that, our DNA, which is, it's,
[01:09:07.470]you think like, that's great,
[01:09:08.820]but it's really hard to get people to utilize it.
[01:09:11.250]It's hard, it's really hard to get people
[01:09:13.770]to input the information to help a cold case.
[01:09:17.790]You can have access, you sign up, you get, you know,
[01:09:20.100]your login, things like that,
[01:09:21.480]but you can only have it for so long.
[01:09:22.800]If you're inactive, they cut you off, you can't use it.
[01:09:25.590]A lot of the MMIW ladies that I work with,
[01:09:27.990]they check it regularly to see cases in their area.
[01:09:31.650]Look, just type in, you know, American Indian in your area,
[01:09:34.080]things like that.
[01:09:34.913]And we found cases that were in there that didn't need
[01:09:38.790]to be, like somebody was recovered already or somebody
[01:09:42.090]was trying to actually get away from somebody
[01:09:44.310]and they were put in.
[01:09:47.940]I've worked a couple of cases
[01:09:49.650]where a mom had trafficked a daughter
[01:09:51.480]and one of them were in there and she,
[01:09:54.060]we think she put her in there.
[01:09:57.930]But yeah, there are plenty
[01:10:00.570]of tools like that to help the work.
[01:10:10.320]Oh, fundraising support.
[01:10:13.410]The simplest of needs are like the biggest needs
[01:10:15.480]when it comes to grassroots organizations,
[01:10:19.950]printing cost, gas, money, water.
[01:10:24.000]When you do a search, water,
[01:10:25.260]when you do a flyer distribution, support for a family,
[01:10:30.630]you know, families, I've seen families lose their home.
[01:10:33.810]I've seen, you know, they're behind on rent,
[01:10:35.880]they can't make rent,
[01:10:36.713]they're about to lose their home
[01:10:37.650]because they used everything on printing cost
[01:10:39.600]to go to a rally somewhere else.
[01:10:42.720]That shouldn't happen.
[01:10:43.740]You know, that's what I feel like anyway.
[01:10:47.220]That shouldn't happen if we have organizations
[01:10:48.990]that are willing to help.
[01:10:52.050]And if you're not a part of an organization,
[01:10:54.660]there's one close to you.
[01:10:56.220]There's a case that needs your support,
[01:10:57.690]there are the family that needs groceries that week,
[01:11:00.930]gas money, you know, things like that.
[01:11:03.420]Those are the simplest of needs
[01:11:04.740]are like the biggest relief sometimes.
[01:11:08.940]There's a lot of history to impact when dealing
[01:11:10.830]with American Indians and Indigenous people.
[01:11:17.700]You know, there are days when it's like, I just,
[01:11:19.320]I don't want to, (laughs) you know,
[01:11:21.750]a lot of grassroots groups,
[01:11:22.980]they do the work from their home.
[01:11:24.810]I truly experienced burnout like right before the pandemic
[01:11:28.140]where I just like, I can't.
[01:11:29.550]And I started to realize that there was no separation
[01:11:32.940]from that work in my own life.
[01:11:36.180]I had flyers next to my bed,
[01:11:38.730]I had stuff in my desk in my bedroom and I was like,
[01:11:41.970]I can't escape it, that's why.
[01:11:44.340]And so be patient.
[01:11:45.360]When somebody can't do a presentation
[01:11:48.540]or can't go do the intake for a case, be patient with them.
[01:11:52.530]We do that within our own organization.
[01:11:55.350]We have a member that does case intake.
[01:11:58.650]If we have somebody that weekly,
[01:12:00.180]it changes weekly so that we can check in and be like,
[01:12:04.590]can you handle this?
[01:12:06.030]Because our, like our member,
[01:12:08.460]our org member right now that has a relative missing.
[01:12:12.180]I'm not gonna ask them to do a case intake this week.
[01:12:16.530]And you have to be willing,
[01:12:17.760]if you're doing this part of the work
[01:12:19.170]where you're being an advocate in some way or educating,
[01:12:23.520]I won't have the mental capacity to sit there
[01:12:25.590]and do a thorough intake and get all of the details we need
[01:12:28.030]for a safe flyer.
[01:12:30.930]So just be patient and do share those flyers
[01:12:34.380]when you see 'em online.
[01:12:35.790]And I say, you know, to do it safely because at the core
[01:12:40.770]of what we do, we try to do things the safest, the safe,
[01:12:43.650]most safe possible way.
[01:12:45.450]And when you're in crisis mode,
[01:12:49.500]you're in shock and you don't function well.
[01:12:51.900]And families are just like, I want my relative,
[01:12:54.030]I want my kid, I want my parent, whoever it is.
[01:12:57.690]And they'll blast their cell phone number all
[01:12:59.820]over social media, all over a flyer,
[01:13:02.010]and that is the most unsafe thing to do.
[01:13:04.470]I have yet to see a case that doesn't have fake ransom
[01:13:08.340]or fake tips.
[01:13:09.960]Why fake tips?
[01:13:11.490]I have no idea.
[01:13:13.200]I don't know why somebody would take the time
[01:13:14.820]out to call police department and give a fake tip.
[01:13:18.750]Like it'll make no sense, whatsoever.
[01:13:21.090]Fake ransom, I understand.
[01:13:23.005]I mean, it makes a little more sense,
[01:13:23.838]like people are trying to get money,
[01:13:25.200]but the scary part is somebody sees this
[01:13:28.767]and they exploit that situation,
[01:13:30.360]they exploit that family vulnerability and call them
[01:13:33.840]and give them a glimmer of hope that their kid
[01:13:38.640]or their relative or whoever is alive.
[01:13:40.860]You know, we've heard fake ransom of like, you know,
[01:13:44.190]your so-and-so needs their medication, you know,
[01:13:47.730]they're all right,
[01:13:48.563]but they're gonna need that medication soon.
[01:13:51.660]You know, send this much to this cash app or whatever,
[01:13:56.130]and you can talk to them tonight at six o'clock.
[01:13:58.830]Like, that is real.
[01:14:00.900]And so you think helping somebody file
[01:14:04.710]a missing person's report is really simple,
[01:14:08.070]but it's extremely important
[01:14:09.900]'cause if you have a case report number,
[01:14:11.340]then you can utilize a police department phone number,
[01:14:14.520]you can put a detective on their extension,
[01:14:17.910]things like that, and tips can go straight to them.
[01:14:19.980]You don't have to be burdened with, you know,
[01:14:22.800]fielding fake tips.
[01:14:25.015]You know, they can vet those easier than I could, you know?
[01:14:30.780]Yeah, it's very simple, but so important
[01:14:35.430]and often overlooked when it comes to the family.
[01:14:39.970]And I feel like people feel like families are supposed
[01:14:43.350]to be able to handle the work for some reason.
[01:14:45.840]I feel like, you know,
[01:14:46.740]people expect the family to like just be on it and schedule
[01:14:50.760]and run these distribution flyer,
[01:14:52.620]distributions and searches.
[01:14:53.760]And that's so what needs to happen.
[01:14:57.450]There are people that have the experience to do these things
[01:15:01.170]and do 'em safely.
[01:15:03.579]How to look for people because a lot of time,
[01:15:07.110]it is a real thing.
[01:15:08.280]I know you see it in Lifetime movies and whatnot,
[01:15:10.170]but the people involved, they'll be at searches,
[01:15:12.630]they'll be there at vigils, things like that.
[01:15:15.840]Understanding confidentiality is so important.
[01:15:19.470]You know, I left an organization because they wanted
[01:15:21.990]to share details on one of the first cases I was working in.
[01:15:25.110]I just thought that's so unsafe.
[01:15:27.240]Like, we can't do this, you know?
[01:15:30.540]Yeah, there's so much to this work.
[01:15:32.790]And I think one of the biggest things I want people,
[01:15:35.640]especially folks that are wanting to grow the work,
[01:15:40.590]wanting to build the work,
[01:15:41.640]wanting to start helping families in your areas,
[01:15:44.550]understand that it's heavy and you need all
[01:15:49.110]of the resources you can, all of the allyship you can have.
[01:15:55.515]It's something that a community can handle though.
[01:16:00.540]It's something that I don't,
[01:16:01.800]I could not have continued to work on my own, you know,
[01:16:05.670]starting off, like I said,
[01:16:07.020]I experienced that burnout and it's real.
[01:16:09.720]It is real.
[01:16:10.553]And if you can't help somebody,
[01:16:12.030]then that can mean somebody's gone forever.
[01:16:15.510]You know, because we get asked a lot of help
[01:16:19.530]and people do not want go to the cops.
[01:16:23.310]You know, that distrust is real.
[01:16:26.850]We help American Indian people.
[01:16:28.980]That's our focus, you know, Native and Indigenous people.
[01:16:32.190]We have been asked for guidance outside of our community.
[01:16:36.810]And one of the first times we were asked by a black family
[01:16:40.200]in our community for some guidance,
[01:16:41.490]and they said, I asked, the first thing was,
[01:16:44.280]have you filed a report?
[01:16:45.450]And they said, I'm not calling the killer cops.
[01:16:48.390]You know, that is real, that distrust.
[01:16:51.120]And that is something that we've had
[01:16:52.710]to learn how to navigate.
[01:16:55.200]Several cases after that would not file a report,
[01:16:57.750]but wanted to know how to do everything else.
[01:17:01.890]So yeah, it is a lot.
[01:17:04.710]It's not to be taken lightly, you know,
[01:17:06.750]if you wanna support, you need to be respectful
[01:17:08.630]of the space and the people that are leading the work.
[01:17:15.240]This is some of, this is our contact, our email,
[01:17:18.810]our Facebook, Instagram.
[01:17:21.690]I answer all of those things too.
[01:17:23.520]Several of us do, but if you were ever to contact,
[01:17:25.860]I'll see that, we try to answer it 24 hours a day if we can.
[01:17:30.900]We have people that we switch
[01:17:32.490]out so that if somebody does need our help in that way,
[01:17:35.640]that there's a missing person that we're there to help them.
[01:17:39.150]These are just some of the things that we've done,
[01:17:41.730]our outreach, red dress that's a powwow,
[01:17:44.880]our anti time gathering, some more of our events.
[01:17:52.440]We have a lot of stuff.
[01:17:54.540]I really suggest if you wanna learn more about the work,
[01:17:57.600]to go to our social media
[01:17:58.950]because when we don't have caseloads to share
[01:18:01.620]and flyers to share,
[01:18:02.880]we're working on different community things
[01:18:05.580]and things like today.
[01:18:08.760]So with that, I wanna wrap up and yeah,
[01:18:11.100]say thank you for having me and yeah,
[01:18:13.790]if there are any questions, I'm-
[01:18:16.140]Yeah, we have time for some questions
[01:18:17.760]and if you want a microphone, Allison will pass around.
[01:18:25.080]First, thank you.
[01:18:26.460]This is incredibly informative.
[01:18:30.063]As a white woman, I want to know how to respectfully enter
[01:18:33.570]that space that is led by Native women.
[01:18:40.887]And I don't want to ask you to do the emotional work
[01:18:43.812]of that, but I wonder if you have some suggestions
[01:18:46.623]for where I could go to learn about.
[01:18:50.100]Yeah, of course I would suggest, like locally,
[01:18:53.310]you have to connect with somebody locally.
[01:18:55.800]There's no need to go outside of your community or city
[01:18:59.370]to do that, to connect.
[01:19:02.910]I do a lot of speaking in university space
[01:19:07.020]and I was in a space at TCU, Texas Christian University,
[01:19:12.840]and there were some students asking that,
[01:19:15.900]and they were saying the same thing.
[01:19:16.890]You know, I'm white, you know,
[01:19:20.070]I'm scared to go and just do this.
[01:19:21.930]And the lady from our community
[01:19:24.090]that I was speaking with that day, she told them,
[01:19:26.550]she was laughing, she's like,
[01:19:28.320]you know what I would tell you to do is to go
[01:19:30.270]and just help.
[01:19:31.290]And they were like, but how do we, they're like, no,
[01:19:33.030]she's like, go clean up, go wash dishes, go help,
[01:19:36.690]you know, when they're serving food, do things like that.
[01:19:40.230]You got, you have to gain trust.
[01:19:42.390]Nobody is just going to usher you in 'cause you wanna help.
[01:19:47.759]You know, I've been doing this work even in the community
[01:19:49.980]that I was born and raised in,
[01:19:50.940]I've had to gain more trust and show that I can, you know,
[01:19:55.710]adhere to our confidentiality and respect your privacy and,
[01:20:00.150]'cause this work, you know,
[01:20:01.890]it's shameful to a lot of people
[01:20:03.870]that they're experiencing violence or domestic violence
[01:20:07.800]or dealing with addiction
[01:20:08.730]or dealing with unmanaged mental health.
[01:20:11.670]They have to know
[01:20:12.510]that you're not gonna spread their business. (laughs)
[01:20:16.680]You know, you have to gain that kind of trust and yeah,
[01:20:21.573]like I would really suggest like going to an event and,
[01:20:24.570]you know, building that relationship and doing the work
[01:20:28.740]that if I'm speaking at an event,
[01:20:30.840]I can't go and serve the food as well at the same time,
[01:20:33.510]you know, so to help lighten the load a little bit,
[01:20:38.250]I think is how I would suggest for a non-Native person
[01:20:41.190]to come in and help a Native organization.
[01:20:45.000]I would say to that,
[01:20:47.970]when we have our annual MMIW or MMIP marches,
[01:20:54.210]we have those every year.
[01:20:55.710]And in Omaha, I know for sure we do show up to those
[01:20:59.640]and just be present to help, show that there's more people.
[01:21:04.500]Yeah, I had, how do I go back?
[01:21:10.492]I don't know.
[01:21:12.158]Oh, I didn't really show that either, (laughs) but,
[01:21:17.250]so I was gonna go back to a couple of slides to some
[01:21:19.980]of our photos, May 5th.
[01:21:25.500]So May 5th is national day of MMIW.
[01:21:31.869]And that is to honor Hanna Harris.
[01:21:34.470]Hanna Harris was murdered in Montana, that's her birthday.
[01:21:37.290]And her mother, her family worked to get that,
[01:21:42.096]that they acknowledged in their state.
[01:21:43.560]And that just kind of spread across the country
[01:21:45.690]as that's the national day.
[01:21:47.490]That is a very good day to look for locally
[01:21:49.920]or even in your state who's doing an awareness rally
[01:21:54.330]around that 'cause you'll find the people doing the work
[01:21:56.700]or you'll find the families.
[01:21:59.593]That's their time to really share about the needs
[01:22:03.720]that they have and uplift their loved ones
[01:22:06.840]that they're searching for that have passed on.
[01:22:09.900]That is a good space,
[01:22:10.770]that is a great recommendation to go to,
[01:22:13.830]to an event like that.
[01:22:15.983]With the youth you work with in Dallas,
[01:22:19.080]now versus in the past,
[01:22:20.060]do you see like an increased or decreased levels
[01:22:23.160]of interest among the youth
[01:22:25.110]and like understanding themselves as Indigenous,
[01:22:27.660]doing Indigenous activism, being activated,
[01:22:30.270]energized, moving Indigenous service?
[01:22:33.210]Yeah, I see a great increase from when, you know,
[01:22:36.840]I was a teenager doing things, you know, I'm active in,
[01:22:41.130]you know, pole dance and things like that.
[01:22:44.670]And I was probably, I am the only one in my,
[01:22:49.050]amongst my siblings and my parents that gravitated
[01:22:52.110]towards that to be a part of that.
[01:22:55.080]And in Texas, it's really unique.
[01:22:57.120]You're not just American Indian or a tribal citizen,
[01:23:00.000]you know, we're close to the border,
[01:23:01.320]we have Indigenous people from beyond the border
[01:23:04.350]and there's a huge increase as well.
[01:23:06.390]It's like once you can say you're Native
[01:23:10.260]and say you're Indigenous,
[01:23:11.310]you're able to be yourself more freely.
[01:23:16.050]You're not, you know,
[01:23:17.970]you're not embarrassed to share your culture.
[01:23:19.830]You're not, and that's a thing that connects you
[01:23:21.930]and that's a thing that's gonna keep you safe
[01:23:23.760]'cause if you feel connected to somebody,
[01:23:25.170]you don't feel alone and you're not going to not share
[01:23:28.020]when you need help and things like that.
[01:23:29.400]And I think we have really intelligent,
[01:23:33.720]healthy youth right now
[01:23:34.980]that are really culturally connected.
[01:23:39.990]I tell my kids, my kids are, you know, pole dancers.
[01:23:42.780]My son's a fancy dancer.
[01:23:43.860]My daughter's starting to dance
[01:23:45.390]and I tell them how I didn't know anybody
[01:23:48.990]that was dancing when I started.
[01:23:52.050]There were, you know, guys that would sing
[01:23:53.730]and we would go to powwows, things like that,
[01:23:56.340]but I didn't have anybody to show me.
[01:23:59.190]And they have all kinds of aunties and uncles now
[01:24:01.710]that are teaching them and showing them because of the need,
[01:24:05.490]because they're so culturally connected.
[01:24:07.980]You know, our cultural wellness is just as important
[01:24:12.570]as our mental health and our physical health needs.
[01:24:18.380]Any other questions?
[01:24:21.780]Well, thank you, Jodi, so much.
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