United Tribes Technical College bringing awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous people

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 6:28 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - United Tribes Technical College is aiming to spread awareness about missing Indigenous peoples. Through criminal justice classes, events, and support systems, they are hoping to spark conversation about missing people in their nations. At their most recent event, “Remember their Hearts Day,” they honored their loved ones that have passed or gone missing.

Students and faculty at United Tribes are making their voices heard about their missing friends and family. There are currently 27 missing Indigenous people that have been reported in North Dakota, according to the ND Missing Persons Office of the Attorney General.

“The crisis is just overwhelming that nobody really knows a true or accurate count because it’s never been tracked,” said Sheridan McNeil, UTTC dean of students.

McNeil says one of the reasons for the number of missing people is the lack of resources in tribal communities. She thinks people are fearful to report things because of fear of retaliation.

“Colonization and the fact that we were not made to be put in this American system. We had our own nations, our own way of life and that was taken away from us and we were forced into the residential schools. It’s a very bad fit for us and it doesn’t work,” said Tanner Veo, UTTC student.

One student is hoping it will be talked about more among her own people, the justice system, and the healthcare system.

“It’s really sad because we’re supposed to be protecting each other, being there for each other. Coming together as a nation and solving these problems together, instead of bringing it upon each other,” said Diana Makes Him First, UTTC student.

“Remember their Hearts Day” gave students the opportunity to share their stories.

“A lot of people just think our people are less than, pretty much less than nothing sometimes. They are human. They are loved. They are mothers. They are brothers. They are dads,” said Latisha White Magpie, UTTC student.

“To remember those that we lost, those that we love, and those that we care for. For the next seven generations. Make sure that they also don’t have to go through what we went through,” said Veo.

All of the participants in the event hope the statistics of Indigenous missing people will decrease, and they hope the younger generations will not have to deal with this crisis.

For families who are looking for a missing Indigenous person, McNeil recommends reaching out to their community resources like the ND Human Trafficking Coalition and connecting with their culture to heal.