Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton) and others recognized National Missing & Murdered Indigenous Day by holding an event at the Minnesota State Capitol with an art installation, jingle dress dancers, speakers, and remembrance for the Indigenous people who have gone before us.
“Today was created to make the world aware of what is happening in my Indigenous community here in Minnesota and around the nation,” said Sen. Kunesh. “Homicide continues to be the third-leading cause of death amongst Native American women. They are murdered at an astonishing rate of 10 times the national average. They make up less than 1% of the state’s population, yet they account for 8% of all women and girls slain in Minnesota from 2010 through 2018.”
Senator Kunesh is the first American Indian female Senator at the Minnesota State Senate. She was the chief author of legislation that created the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. The task force completed an initial report in December 2020 and presented to the Legislature in January 2021.
This legislative session, Senator Kunesh has authored a bill for the creation of the Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (SF 1989). This legislation has not had a hearing in the Senate.
Sen. Kunesh adds: “Despite the inaction in the Senate by the Republicans, I am hopeful that through the conference committee process, the Legislature will renew the commitment to assist Native communities across Minnesota, urban and rural, with these issues, and to support the national MMU’s work to be a force-multiplier in preventing these cases from arising in the first place. I remain hopeful that the day will come that we will prioritize the safety and well-being of Native people everywhere.”