SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons is not a new issue for those living on South Dakota’s tribal lands or advocates working to raise awareness.
That’s why many are excited to finally see the positions filled in the new Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons — which was created as part of the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office nearly two years ago.
Tasha His Law has been working as an advocate raising awareness on MMIP for five years now. But the epidemic also hits close to home as she herself has had four family members taken from her.
“I don’t wear this handprint just for decoration, I wear it because we need justice for our people,” His Law, founder of the Waciyanpi organization, said. “Us as Native Americans, we don’t know what justice is. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
His Law is also a member of the Red Ribbon Skirt Society and got the chance to meet with the South Dakota Attorney General to discuss what she would like to see come from the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.
It was announced Wednesday that Allison Morrisette will become the state’s first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator. Morrisette is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe — which His Law is happy about.
“It feels like if it was any other race, I don’t think they would have fully understand what we’re going through,” His Law said.
Mary Beth Holzwarth was hired to fill the role of South Dakota Human Trafficking Coordinator — an issue that goes hand in hand with MMIP.
His Law is hopeful having these two positions filled will help bridge gaps between jurisdictional issues so more Indigenous families can find justice. She also hopes it can help spread awareness about the issue.
“Even help the younger generation of kind of what to look out for and how to report this and just the education on it and how to just be safe,” His Law said.
A hopeful step forward for a problem often pushed to the side.
“Keep your faith and stay prayerful. We got this far and I think we can continue just to keep fighting for justice,” His Law said.