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New Blog: Missing & Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Month written by Merissa Posh (Pomo) and Marisela Featherstone (Chicane, Lipan Apache)

Missing & Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Month (MMIP)

Sacramento, California – May 17, 2024– Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Day, or MMIP Day is honored on May 5th. A day when we recognize the intentional and significant suffering so many Native Americans and Indigenous people have endured. This year, thanks to the joint efforts of many Tribes across California, Native-led organizations, and the Native American Caucus, Assemblymember Ramos designated May as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Month in California during the 2nd Annual MMIP Week of events, culminating in the Floor Ceremony for Assembly Concurrent Resolution 133 (ACR 133) on Thursday, May 2nd.

MMIP is a movement created to increase awareness of the ongoing violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. MMIP has been a continuing conversation regarding the lack of support many Tribal communities face. It has underscored systemic issues that leave many people confused about the reality plaguing N’D’N country. On May 4th, 2021, President Biden proclaimed that Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day would be held every year on May 5th. He stated on this day, “We remember the Indigenous people who we have lost to murder and those who remain missing and commit to working with Tribal Nations to ensure any instance of a missing or murdered person is met with swift and effective action.” Biden also reassured that the American Rescue Plan provided an additional $35 million in grants for Tribes to provide temporary housing, assistance, and supportive services to victims of domestic and dating violence, as well as supplemental funding for the StrongHearts Native Helpline, and additional funding for services for sexual assault survivors.

California resides in the top ten states with the largest number of MMIR cases in the United States. The rates of murder, rape, and crime for Native Americans and Alaska Natives are higher than the national average. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, “non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) females experienced the second highest rate of homicide in 2020.” It also states that “Non-Hispanic AI/AN males had the second highest rate of homicide compared with males in all other racial and ethnic groups” (OJS, 2020). These statistics continue to increase each year that action is not taken.

“According to SBI, only a minuscule 9% of the murders of Indigenous California women have ever been solved, compared to 60% in the non-Native population, meaning that the killings of Indigenous women in the region are a shocking seven times less likely to be solved than those of any other demographic” (Bender, 2021). According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 2023 66% of entries for missing American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons are for minors between the ages of 12 and 17. 71% of those entries are for AI/AN females and 60% for AI/AN males within that age range. 

In a landmark moment this April, the prosecution of a non-Native male for the killing of Pit River Tribal member Milton “Yogi” McGarva marked a historic milestone. Attorney General Rob Bonta and the Department of Justice, in partnership with Assemblymember James C. Ramos, ensured justice was served with a sentence of 26 years to life. 

MMIP Week at the State Capitol featured a series of impactful events. They commenced on April 30th at the Sawyer Hotel with a Tribal Leaders Reception, providing Tribal and State leadership with a platform to engage, interact, and discuss solutions and actions for MMIP. On Wednesday, May 1st, the Capitol hosted a Press Conference on the West Steps, where California Tribal leaders shared the podium. Later that evening, the 2nd Annual Candlelight Vigil provided a poignant moment for leaders in this cause to speak, sharing their stories and advocating for continued efforts. 

Below are images captured during our attendance at the events and links to view the press conference and additional photos from the Native American Caucus.


Tribal leaders award a resolution to Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Tribal leaders gather for a press conference regarding MMIP.

Tribal leaders raise fists in solidarity with the MMIP movement.

Tribal Leaders open the MMIP Vigil.

People dressed in red attending the vigil.

An MMIP banner on a fence.

People with MMIP banners in front of the Capitol.

Girls in red ribbon skirts in front of the State Capitol.

The Capitol done lit red.

The floor assembly session.

Tribal leaders gathered in a State Capitol room.


To view the Press Conference, click the link below:
To view photos and learn
more visit the Native American Caucus website below: 

Sacramento Native American Health Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center committed to continue and share the legacy of a healthy American Indian / Alaska Native community based on cultural values delivered through a traditional, innovative and accessible patient-centered health home. SNAHC offers primary care, oral health, behavioral health, specialty, and supportive services in Midtown and South Sacramento plus a school-based health center. We are open to all, and all are welcome. For more information on SNAHC, visit or call 916-341-0575 for an appointment.

Jeanine Gaines



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