Historically, Natives have been betrayed by the U.S. government. There is a huge mistrust in the systems that are deeply rooted in systemic racism and white supremacy. However, democracy was practiced by First Nations long before settlers touched foot on our lands. Through centuries of mistreatment, we have inherently been taught to not politically engage. However, whether you are at a march, protest, or board meeting advocating for equity and equality - most of the final decisions or legislation is passed by a majority of non-Natives who are in support of benefitting the members of power and privilege. Thus, leaving us out of a seat at the table and conversation where Indigenous perspectives are needed and valued.
In regards to the #MMIR epidemic and political engagement, it took a handful of powerful Native public elected officials such as now Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, Representative Sharice Davis, and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to bring this underreported and serious conversation to the national forefront. Due to Native politicians and Indigenous communities voicing their concerns, we were able to pass such important legislation such as Savannah's Act and Violence Against Women's Act (with the Indigenous component added).
Just this year, Great Plains Action Society and #MMIR Director Trisha Etringer delivered a speech after receiving the first #MMIW Proclamation in the State of Iowa at the Sioux City City Council meeting on May 2, 2022.
Here are other pieces of legislation that have been passed in efforts to fight against #MMIR