American Indian Education Program

Monthly Newsletter - MAY 2022

Boozhoo District 196 Teachers!

In honor of Hannah Harris's birthday (May 5th) - a Northern Cheyenne woman who went missing in Montana, this month's Indian Education Newsletter would like to contribute to raising awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

May 5th has been recognized as a national day of awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and their families.

Background Photo of “Ganawenjiige Onigam” (“Caring for Duluth”) by Mayan artist Votan Henriquez. It is painted on the exterior wall of the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth, MN.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women


  • Indigenous Women (girls +) murdered 10x higher than all other ethnicities.

  • Murder is the 3rd leading cause of death for Indigenous Women (Centers for Disease Control).

  • More than 4 out of 5 Indigenous Women have experienced violence (84.3%) (National Institute of Justice Report).

  • More than half Indigenous Women experience sexual violence (56.1%).

  • More than half Indigenous Women have been physically abused by their intimate partners (55.5 percent).

  • less than half of Indigenous Women have been stalked in their lifetime (48.8 percent).

  • Indigenous Women are 1.7 times more likely than Anglo-American women to experience violence.

  • Indigenous Women are 2xs more likely to be raped than Anglo-American white women.

  • Murder rate of Indigenous Women is 3xs higher than Anglo-American women.


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Minnesota Legislator: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force

During the 2017-2018 legislative session, Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein and others began advocating for the creation of a task force to look into the deaths and disappearances of indigenous women. According to reporting by Minnesota Lawyer, Rep. Kunesh-Podein heard "a radio broadcast about a Canadian task force" addressing this issue, which prompted her to propose creating a similar group in Minnesota.


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Secretary Deb Haaland Creates New Missing & Murdered Unit to Pursue Justice for Missing or Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives

New unit will coordinate interagency collaboration and strengthen existing law enforcement resources.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the formation of a new Missing & Murdered Unit (MMU) within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) to provide leadership and direction for cross-departmental and interagency work involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. The MMU will help put the full weight of the federal government into investigating these cases and marshal law enforcement resources across federal agencies and throughout Indian country.

“Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades. Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “The new MMU unit will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe, and provide closure for families.”

Approximately 1,500 American Indian and Alaska Native missing persons have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) throughout the U.S., and approximately 2,700 cases of murder and non-negligent homicide offenses have been reported to the Federal Government’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

US Department of Interior


Ojibwe Language

IKWE ... a woman, a lady

ikwezens .... A girl

Anishinaabekwe ... an Ojibwe woman or an Indigenous woman

Dakota Language

Wiciŋcana ... a girl

Wiŋ´yaŋ .... a woman