Recognizing Missing & Murdered Indigenous People


From MDHHS Division of Victim Services


Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day is on May 5 and provides just one opportunity to honor the countless lives that have been lost while elevating the need for greater awareness to address violence against Indigenous communities – particularly women and girls. The Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board has issued a resolution (read it here: MMIW&IR Resolution_May 5, 2023) to acknowledge MMIP Awareness Day and encourages attendance at gatherings and marches hosted by federally recognized tribes throughout Michigan.


“The needs surrounding missing and murdered women and Indigenous people are long-standing issues connected to this country’s history of assimilation polices,” said the Hon. Melissa Pope, Chief Judge of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and member of the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. “We need allies in this work, and we need every advocate to remember the historical trauma and suffering of Indigenous people. I am honored to represent the Board at the March for MMIP in Grand Rapids on May 5 and encourage all Michiganders to attend local events that recognize the lives of murdered and missing Indigenous people and relatives.”


Cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people – particularly women and girls – are under-reported, under-investigated, and remain unsolved throughout the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native Women on Tribal lands. Research published by the National Institute of Justice indicates that more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women – over 84 percent – have experienced violence in their lifetime, including stalking, sexual violence, and physical abuse by an intimate partner.


“For too long, missing and murdered Indigenous people and their relatives have not received the supportive care, programs, and services they need and deserve,” said the Hon. Libby Hines (Ret.), Chair of the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. “Our Board is committed to improving state laws and policies as we work to prevent these egregious acts of violence while relentlessly pursuing justice on behalf of all Indigenous people in Michigan.”


Read more: Factsheet on MMIW&IR

Click here to learn more about Michigan’s federally recognized tribes in your area.