The city of Dallas will join representatives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Texas Rematriate in proclaiming Thursday as a day of awareness.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Day is an annual initiative recognized each year on May 5 by US and Canadian cities.
Dallas will recognize the day with a ceremony scheduled for 1:30 pm in the Flag Room at Dallas City Hall, where council member Omar Narvaez will join with MMIW representatives to read Mayor Eric Johnson’s proclamation.
Buildings in downtown Dallas will commemorate the day with red lights Thursday evening, turning the skyline red.
According to studies, American and Alaska Native rates of murder, rape and violent crime are all higher than the national averages, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Jodi Voice Yellowfish, who leads the Dallas-based MMIW Texas Rematriate, said her organization works to combat the crisis and provide help “regardless of gender and how one identifies.”
Yellowfish said it’s imperative that organizations such as MMIW Texas Rematriate raise awareness and be a conduit between resources and the community. “Awareness sheds light to the resources we lack, such as appropriate mental health care, trauma-informed care, trafficking aftercare and much more,” she said.
Yellowfish, who is an Oak Cliff resident and indigenous advocate, is a member of the Muscogee Creek, Oglala Lakota and Cherokee tribes.
More than 65,000 people identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native in North Texas, according to the 2020 census.
Dallas was among the cities used during the 1956 Indian Relocation Act, which was a campaign that urged American Indians to leave reservations and assimilate into urban areas.
To the MMIW, the act directly impacted the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women because urban-dwelling American Indians had fewer ties to tribal law enforcement, their communities and allies according to their reduced numbers.
The event also kicks off “Supporting Indigenous Sisters: An International Print Exchange Exhibition” through May 14 at the Artstillery. The exhibition is co-presented by MMIW.
A ceremonial opening for the show is planned at 7 pm Thursday at the Artstillery, 723 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas.
The exhibition is curated by Melanie Yazzie, a professor at the University of Colorado, and Catherine Prose, a professor at Midwestern University.