Oregon governor declares May 5 as MMIP Awareness Day

ATTORNEY

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon also announced the appointment of an MMIP regional coordinator based in the state.

SALEM, Ore. — On Saturday, Gov. Tina Kotek issued a proclamation declaring May 5 as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day.

“For far too long, the unsolved deaths and disappearances of Indigenous persons, especially women, have not seen justice,” Gov. Kotek said in a statement. “On Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we recommit ourselves to addressing the root causes and systemic obstacles contributing to this crisis.” 

Oregon joins the federal government in recognizing Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day. 

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced the appointment of an MMIP regional coordinator based in the state, Cedar Wilkie Gillette. Gillette has served as the District of Oregon MMIP Coordinator since June 2020. Gillette will work beside Bree R. Black Horse, who was appointed in Feb. 2024 in the eastern district of Washington to serve as the MMIP Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northwest Region.

The regional coordinator for Northwest Region — which includes California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington — will fall under the Justice Department’s MMIP Regional Outreach Program. The program places 10 attorneys and coordinators in five designated regions nationwide “to aid in the prevention and response to missing or murdered Indigenous people,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

“There is still so much more to do in the face of persistently high levels of violence that Tribal communities have endured for generations, and that women and girls, particularly, have endured,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a press release on Friday. 

“In carrying out our work, we seek to honor those who are still missing, those who were stolen from their communities, and their loved ones who are left with unimaginable pain,” he continued. “Tribal communities deserve safety, and they deserve justice. This day challenges all of us at the Justice Department to double down on our efforts, and to be true partners with Tribal communities as we seek to end this crisis.”

Indigenous women are murdered at rates 10 times the national average in some jurisdictions, according to a federal survey cited by the Attorney General’s Office. Washington state has the second-highest number of missing Indigenous people in the U.S., with Indigenous women going missing more than four times more than white women, according to research conducted by the Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle.  

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