Despite its large, open space, Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center was almost overflowing Monday evening, many generations of Indigenous people packing the center for the fifth annual Indigenous People’s Day celebration.
The evening also remembered the missing. Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative’s Indigenous Outreach Coordinator Roxanne White briefly talked about Alyssa McLemore, who will have been missing for 10 years this coming April.
“Her family has been searching for her, and when we met them in January, they felt so alone,” White said. “This is why we wear red. This is why we do this work. … It’s about these families, and it’s for those ones who are not here. They are not here tonight. For those ones who don’t have a voice anymore. Their voice was stolen. They were taken.”
Native women go missing at disproportionate rates. According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control, the fifth leading cause of death for Native women aged 20 to 24 is homicide; among baby girls, ages 1 to 4, homicide the second leading cause of death. Native women are also two-and-a-half times more likely than other women to be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
Featured Photo: Juan Salinas performs the only ceremony the Aztec culture is allowed to share with those outside the culture, during the fifth annual celebration of Indigenous People’s Day at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 8, 2018. He belongs to Tloke Nahuake- tlayolohtli, a traditional Aztec Dance family group. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)