A new report by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) documents murdered and missing indigenous women and girls in 71 cities. Seventy-one cases identified were in Washington State, the second highest of 10 states included in the analysis. Forty-five of those cases were in Seattle, the highest number of the 71 cities surveyed.
The report, authored by Annita Lucchesi (Southern Cheyenne), and UIHI director Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), highlights tremendous gaps in the information about these cases documented in law enforcement records and news reports. Of 72 law enforcement agencies surveyed, only 56% provided any data in response to public information requests. Of those, 25% provided incomplete information. Media coverage was sparse. One-quarter of the total cases received any media coverage.
The study found that “reasons for the lack of quality data include underreporting, racial misclassification, poor relationships between law enforcement and American Indian and Alaska Native communities, poor record-keeping protocols, institutional racism in the media, and a lack of substantive relationships between journalists and American Indian and Alaska Native communities.” A previous UIHI survey of Native women living in Seattle found that more than half of those surveyed were homeless, and nearly all (94%) had experienced sexual violence.
• UIHI identified 506 unique cases of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls in 71 cities.
• Forty-two cases (8% of all cases) were domestic violence related, and 14% of domestic violence fatalities were victims aged 18 and under.
• At least 25 victims (6% of all cases) were sexually assaulted at the time of their disappearance or death.
• Eighteen victims (4% of all cases) were identified as sex workers or victims of trafficking.
• 153 of the cases identified by UIHI do not exist in law enforcement records
• Urban Indian Health Institute
• KUOW: Report Finds Seattle Has Most Missing and Murdered Native Women
• Seattle Times: New report highlights flaws in police data on missing, murdered indigenous women and girls
• AP News: Missing in Indian Country