Native American women to lead 3rd annual Women’s March Reno | FirstNationsFocus.com

Native American women to lead 3rd annual Women’s March Reno

Special to First Nation's Focus

Native women enter the Reno City Center Plaza to lead the 2018 Women’s March on Jan. 20.

RENO, Nev. — For the third consecutive year, members of Great Basin Native American Tribes and other Indigenous nations will lead the third annual Women's March Reno.

This year’s march is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Reno.

“It would be our honor to have you lead us in the March again," wrote Mylan Hawkins, one of the organizers of the march in Reno, to all 27 Nevada Tribes. "The hand drums, songs, solidarity and Native people have created a greater awareness of the missing and murdered Indigenous women within Indian Country … and the awareness needs to grow."

Last year, led by Native American women, 12,000 people turned out for the procession through the heart of downtown Reno and across the Truckee River. Moreover, a dozen jingle dancers — moms, daughters, grandmas, sisters and friends, literally and figuratively — started the Northern Nevada movement of this world-wide event.

With its origins in the Ojibwe culture, the jingle dance symbolizes healing. As the mission of the women's march is to harness the political power of diverse women to create transformative social change, the choreographed tones of the jingles, which imitate the sound of rain helped purify the new day and build a strong, collective spirit to the march.

However, that was just the first wave of the Native American presence. The jingle dress dancers were complemented with hand drums symbolizing Mother Earth's heartbeat, followed by at least 100 women wearing red ribbon skirts.

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Started by an Indigenous community in Canada, the red ribbon skirts serve as a tangible commemoration of the Indigenous women who have gone missing or have been murdered. With skirt silhouettes stretching toward the ground where Mother Earth's sacred medicines can be found, Native women moved powerfully over the magical Truckee River.

Again this year, Native Americans will wear carefully hand-made bold red attire, the color of love, and the color of passion, to serve as a prominent reminder that the on-going epidemic of missing and murdered women continues.

New this year, The Mankillers, an all-woman, Native American drum group will perform and participate in the rally.

"The world is beginning to understand that the strength and leadership of women are rooted in the ancestry we all carry," said Michon R. Eben, a member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the director of the Tribe's Historic Preservation Office and the Cultural Resource Program. "We rise, we stand and we march to remind the world that without your mothers, wives, aunties, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, great grandmothers, girlfriends and our earth mother, the world would cease to exist."

Dr. Debra Harry, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and a lecturer for the University of Nevada's Gender, Race, and Identify Program, will be one of the featured speakers after the participants gather in the City of Reno Plaza.

According to the Reno march organizers, other speakers will include Verita Prothro Black, Ethan Clift, Vivian Leal and Assemblywoman Sarah Peters.

For more information about the RSIC's involvement with the Women's March Reno, contact RSIC Public Information Officer Stacey Montooth at 775-842-2902 or smontooth@rsic.org.

This article was provided to First Nation’s Focus by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. Go to rsic.org to learn more.