On July 3, 2013, 21-year-old Northern Cheyenne member Hannah Harris left her baby with her mom and went out. Hours later, she still hadn’t come back to breastfeed her child. The police investigation was slow to start a search and the family was forced to rely on word of mouth and social media. Still, it was five days before Harris was found, brutally beaten and raped, her body thrown in a ditch.
Such stories are unfortunately not rare in tribal communities. Native women are ten times more likely to be murdered than the national average, according to a Department of Justice report. That’s why the U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution recognizing May 5 as the "National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls."
Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards spoke with Carmen O’Leary, director of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, about her group’s efforts to stop the violence.