By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Monday, February 17, the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) – Indian Capital, Woman Warrior Society, Matriarch, S.P.I.R.I.T., MMIW – Chickasaw Chapter, and American Indian Movement (AIM) Indian Territory, among other groups, will gather in unity for the “Hit the Ground” rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The goal of the event is to lobby and advocate for the passage of legislation to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women/Persons.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the South Plaza of the State Capitol. Woman Warrior Society will lead the event with a song and prayer.
State Representative Mickey Dollens (D-Oklahoma City), author of “Ida’s Law” (House Bill 3345), will speak at 11 am followed by Rep. Daniel Pae (R-Lawton), author of the “Red Alert” Act (H.B. 2847) and Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) Training on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) (H.B. 2848) at 11:30 am.
“The urgency of the MMIW crisis has united grassroots indigenous organizations unlike any other time in recent history,” said Matriarch Co-Founder and ACLU of Oklahoma Board President, Sarah Adams-Cornell.
“I am excited to see indigenous community members and allies who have never engaged politically walking the halls of our state Capitol advocating for our stolen relatives,” added Adams-Cornell. “I am grateful to those who organize these efforts and Matriarch is honored to be a part of this momentum.”
Following the opening speakers, participants are asked enter the Capitol Building and speak to legislators throughout the day to lobby for all three bills that will address human trafficking and missing and murdered indigenous peoples.
Various speakers will address the crowd during the day. Drum groups “Cozad” and “Redstone” will provide southern style songs. Round dances and stomp dances are planned, along with a flute performance by local artisan Brent Blount and songs from the Sovereign Community School youth group.
Legislative efforts to address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People have gained momentum nationally both at the federal and state levels.
Oklahoma could lead the nation in passing all three pieces of legislation to address this crisis and could save untold numbers of lives, organizers said.
H.B. 2847 creates a Red Alert mirroring the Amber and Silver Alert system to alert law enforcement and media when an indigenous person goes missing under suspicious or dangerous situations. H.B. 2848 mandates 1 hour of CLEET training per year on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People and cultural sensitivity.
H.B. 3345 creates a missing persons specialist in the OSBI for communicating between law enforcement agencies, jurisdictional issues and inputting biographical information into federal databases for missing persons.
For more information, contact Brenda Golden at 918-758-6773 or Charisse Redbone at 405-339-3274.