Airway Heights, WA (May 3, 2022) – The Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Northern Quest Resort & Casino are proud to help bring awareness to the 60 Indigenous women currently missing in Washington state. On May 5, a National Day of Awareness for MMIW, the Kalispel Tribe will pay tribute with a ceremony and display of red dresses to represent the missing women starting at 11:30 a.m. in the Southeast entrance of the resort (near Windfall). As part of this day of awareness, the Kalispel Tribe Charitable Fund will be matching any donations made to the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition between May 5-15, up to $2,500. Donations can be made at www.endtheviolencespokane.org.
According to a 2016 National Institute of Justice report, more than four out of five American Indian and Native Alaskan men and women experience violence in their lifetime. In addition, Native American women are murdered at more than ten times the national average. These Native women deserve to have a voice and to have their stories heard.
The red dresses displayed at Northern Quest will hang empty, symbolizing the missing women who should be wearing them and living full and happy lives. Of the 60 dresses, one is a custom-made Native American jingle dress crafted by Kalispel Tribal elder and Northern Quest Team Member Stephanie Stoops.
In many tribal cultures, red is a color that transcends the physical world and calls to the ancestors in the spiritual world. With this installation, the Kalispel Tribe and Northern Quest bring attention to our missing mothers, sisters, and daughters, in an effort to help break the silence around this horrible epidemic. Additional displays will help bring awareness to all 120 missing Native American people in the state of Washington, with just over half of those originating from Eastern Washington. Several organizations will be present on May 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., helping to educate those in attendance about MMIW, including the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition, Kalispel Tribal Court Victims of Crimes Advocates, and Camas Path.
“We are proud to work with our local community to raise awareness about the plight of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Washington state and around the country,” says Northern Quest General Manager and Kalispel Tribal Council Member Nick Pierre. “These women are valued and missed.
Our Team Members will be wearing red handprint stickers on May 5 around the resort, as a symbolic representation of those who have been silenced. We want to do our part to ensure the violence and silence end, and hope for the future is restored.”
The MMIW ceremony will begin with an opening prayer in Salish and English from Kalispel Tribal elder Francis Cullooyah. Additional speakers include Northern Quest General Manager and Tribal Council Member Nick Pierre; Executive Director of Public & Government Affairs and Tribal Council Vice Chair Curt Holmes; Executive Director of Human Resources and Tribal elder Shirley Blackbear; and Washington State Patrol Tribal Liaison Dawn Pullin. The Frog Island Drummers will also present honor songs as we pay tribute to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
The ceremony on May 5 is open to the public and we encourage all to attend.