From the Native Youth Sexual Health Network:
We validate the many stories we’ve heard from families about a lack of police responsiveness and/or dehumanizing treatment directed at the missing woman themself, their family or friends. Families have expressed frustration and anguish of being ignored when they presented evidence countering police theories. For instance, pointing out that their loved ones disappeared without taking their wallet, clothes, or cell phone, told no one of their plans, left without saying goodbye, and have not heard from for months, years, and decades in some cases. When the police don’t view our loved ones’ disappearances are as a cause for alarm that leaves it up to families and allies to take on the role of investigating despite the shock we are experiencing.
It is unacceptable and trauma-inducing when families are put in a position of having to circulate their own posters/information, raise money for rewards or to hire private investigators and lawyers, coordinate their own searches, set up tip-lines, follow-up on leads, or speak to the media, or mobilize community without supports in place. It is likewise problematic and harmful that families who do not have the capacity to undertake this overwhelming and expensive process are unable to advocate on behalf of their loved ones.
These accounts illuminate a deeply complicated relationship with police that’s been shaped by colonial stereotypes that dehumanize Indigenous women and label Indigenous peoples as needing to be controlled, managed, and assimilated. Some families are reluctant to speak out when problems with police arise, out of fear of having it reflect back on the investigation and how it proceeds (or doesn’t).
Read the entire statement here (PDF link) and check out the NYSHN’s resource list:
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
Stop Law Enforcement Violence Toolkit
Streetwise and Safe
Criminal In/Justice Map - working through the criminal in/justice system
Young Women’s Empowerment Project
“Street Youth Bill of Rights”