Yurok Tribe hosts MMIP Awareness walk

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On May 6th, the Yurok Tribal Council hosted their annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s (MMIP) awareness walk. 

In California, indigenous people go missing and are murdered at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the United States.

“I see people I really care about and who have been through holy hell. And you know what we are gonna live through holy hell. And we’re going to continue to work on this until it exists no more. I promise you as you promise each other that we will not forget and we will prevail and they will come home”, says Abby Abinanti, Yurok Tribal Judge. 

The Yurok Tribal Council aims to make every May MMIP awareness month, as human trafficking and missing people remain a persistent issue in the community at large. 

“We can’t overturn the county’s system that’s fighting against us. That the system  and policies in place are hurting our families and hurting our children. So now we come in to continue to bring awareness and to my surprise Yurok Tribal council has said we need to take a stand, Chairman James said we need a call to action. We came so far since those days and now were attacking those issues with legislation, with policies,” says Phil Williams, Yurok tribe councilman. 

Beyond raising awareness, the MMIP program works together to bring missing people home from across state lines. 

“It took them three days to post a missing person(s), but it took them four hours to come to the house. I called the Yurok Tribal Police and kind of gave them a rundown of what was happening the second day, and within 20 minutes they put out a missing persons post on Facebook for her. Trying to get the Crescent City police to do anything about it was like pulling teeth. We had so many people looking for her, I was getting facebook messages from people off the MMIP in Nevada or Arizona asking if she was alive or okay, I had messages from people telling me they were taking out their four wheelers to look for her”, says Altezza Proctor, who’s sister went missing earlier this year but is now home safe. 

Story by Tucker Caraway