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Bringing attention to the MMIW issue from the news desk

Posted at 8:43 AM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 16:16:06-05

During Friday morning's Montana this Morning newscast, I was proud to wear a medallion that was gifted to me by my father-in-law Vernon Hill, and beaded by Amber White.

It features a woman wearing a red dress, with the letters MMIW at the bottom, and a red hand print over her mouth.

This is a symbol we've seen all too often lately here in Montana.

It stands for all of the missing, murdered indigenous people in our community.

Most recently, we covered the case of Selena Not Afraid. Before that, it was Kaysera Stops Pretty Places. And before that, it was Henny Scott.

The list goes on and on as you take a look back at the past decades.

But my first experience as a reporter covering the MMIW issue was the disappearance and murder of Hanna Harris of Lame Deer.

It was a case that changed my life.

Her family demanded justice and eventually, justice was served. But unfortunately, with so many other young missing native women, that's not the case.

My heart broke for Hanna's family as they were declined help from local law enforcement when they first reported she had disappeared.

Her body was found four days later.

Hanna's family and friends held marches and made sure this wasn't another death that was going to be swept under the rug.

Months later, her killers were convicted and eventually sentenced.

But it was a painful process that no family should have to go through.

They can't mourn in the proper way because they're exhausted from putting up a fight to make sure their loved one's case doesn't fade with time.

There are so many more issues that factor in to MMIW beyond what I mentioned above, but as a member of this community and a journalist covering these cases, there's a part of you that can't help but be affected by it all.

As journalists, we here at Q2 are not only people reporting these cases, we're truly invested and concerned every step of the way.