Ponemah Walk Brings Awareness To Missing & Murdered Indigenous People
You’ve seen their names on missing posters or on the news. Sometimes, their family members go years without finding out what happened to their loved ones. Today’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Walk was meant to bring awareness to a problem that’s been happening for too long.
“There’s so many of us that are being impacted and grieving, and it’s really important that we come together as a community and try to build each other up,” said Williamette Morrison, who helped bring the event to Ponemah.
The day started with a prayer and a few songs. Then, people took turns speaking about their missing or murdered family members. Meanwhile, an artist painted a mural.
Morrison’s own daughter went missing back in 1996. She was found 12 years later buried in a cemetery under a different name.
“It was Christmas Eve when they brought her to us, and so on December 26th, 2008, we had her wake here in Ponemah,” says Morrison.
Attendees were asked to add their handprints to the mural once it was done. The handprints represented all the people could not be there.
“I liked this event because it’s something that we’ve never addressed before, because we’ve of course have had missing and murdered indigenous people for years, and so it’s nice that we’re finally acknowledging that and bringing it forward,” says Crystal Beaulieu-Donnell, whose husband has been missing since November 6th.
Later, attendees took to the streets to march in honor of the missing and murdered. The day ended with food and a few more speeches to remind the community to not lose hope.
“The more we share our stories, I think it builds our hearts back together. It somewhat repairs our hearts and I think that’s what’s most important is to try to put our broken hearts back together again,” says Morrison.
Beaulieu-Donnell adds, “It does help. It does help to know that there’s other people that haven’t got to bury their loved ones like I haven’t yet. That the hardest part is not having closure.”
This was the first Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Walk, but organizers plan to make it an annual event.