MISSOULA – The statistics are shocking and advocates for missing and murdered indigenous women say our state is in a crisis.
Data from the Montana Department of Justice reports that Native American women make up 40% of women missing in Montana while Native Americans make up just 3.3% of the state’s population.
MTN News has reported on some recent cases, as searches for several missing Native women from Western Montana. You might recognize some of their names — Jermaine Charlo, Darlene Billie, Ashley Loring-Heavyrunner.
A Blackfeet filmmaker is documenting the stories of missing and murdered indigenous women in Montana this year. Ivan MacDonald says legal, jurisdictional issues can hinder a missing person’s investigation.
“There’s this difference. When crime happens on reservations there’s this difference that can sort of lead to these problems. There’s a reason. It’s not just [that] murder happens on the reservation and people don’t care. There really is no safety net there to address the issue,” MacDonald said.
The advocates were at the University of Montana earlier this week as part of the events to mark American Indian Heritage Week.