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Dozens brave bitter cold and pandemic for missing and murdered indigenous women’s rally in Appleton

Wisconsin’s attorney general launched a task force last year to address the issue
Published: Feb. 14, 2021 at 7:41 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The coronavirus pandemic forced a rally on missing and murdered indigenous women to move virtually.

Still a few dozen people appeared in-person at Houdini Plaza on Sunday with wind chills hovering in the negative teens with the purpose of spreading awareness.

“I’m here as a state representative showing support, drawing attention to this issue, making sure people know that this is not going away. It is still a concern and we still have work to do,” State Rep. Lee Snodgrass, (D)-District 57, said.

One thing that was noticeably different this year was the crowd size in comparison to last year.

“We cannot really trust the law enforcement agencies to help us with the missing and murdered indigenous women,” Tania Aubid of East Lake, Minnesota said to those at the plaza.

Organizers decided to hold the speaking portion of Sunday’s event virtually because of the pandemic.

For two hours, several speakers shared their perspective on the topic. One family discussed in length the heartbreaking loss it suffered after a native woman went missing in 1986 at 18 after giving birth to her daughter.

“To this day, her parents, her sisters, her daughter, our family, we still don’t have any answers,” Amanda Lemke-Rochon said of her cousin.

The United States Department of Justice found that Native American women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. Moreover, four out of five are impacted by domestic violence, according to the Coalition to Stop Violence against Native Women.

“They go missing in life, they go missing in the news because usually it’s not reported, and they go missing in the data,” Rick Kitchen, a volunteer who helped with organizing Sunday’s event, said.

Last year, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul launched a task force for missing and murdered indigenous women to develop proposals on solving the issue.

Kaul previously told us there needs to be a database tracking these cases as there currently isn’t one.

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