Lyla June among many on hand for Reno ‘No More Stolen Sisters’ event
First Nation’s Focus
RENO, Nev. — On the evening of Feb. 13, the University of Nevada, Reno hosted a fundraising event, “No More Stolen Sisters: Demanding Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”
The event served as a reminder of the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in the United States and Canada, and it was set up to help support local activities that raise awareness and strategies to protect indigenous women and girls in the Northern Nevada/California region.
Several Native women spoke at the event, highlighted by Lyla June (Navajo and Cheyenne), a renowned musician, poet, anthropologist, educator, community organizer and public speaker.
Jolie Varela (Tule River Yokut and Paiute), who is founder of the Indigenous Women Hike; and local Native leader Autumn Harry (Pyramid Lake Paiute), who organized the Feb. 13 event, also spoke, among others.
Varela shared a personal story, “Healing through Mother Earth.” After the event, Varela was asked to reflect on the current MMIW epidemic and to share advice to the younger generation.
“The missing and murdered indigenous women movement hits close to home for me because I am a survivor of suicide, sexual abuse and rape,” Varela shared. “It’s important for me to show up in this movement to bring awareness to MMIW. That is my platform — I am the founder of a organization called Indigenous Women Hike, (and) we want to combat violence against women. The way to do that is to reconnect ourselves to the land and to nourish our connection that we have with the earth — when we begin to heal ourselves the land begins to heal.
“We are a reflection of each other. That is why events like this are so important, and that is why Indigenous Women Hike is important, so we can stop the violence against indigenous women and girls.”
Go to http://www.indigenouswomenhike.com to learn more about Indigenous Women Hike. Go to mmiwusa.org, or look for “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA” on Facebook, to learn more about the MMIW epidemic.
Alejandra Rubio (Yavapai-Apache) is a contributing photographer/writer to First Nation’s Focus.