Published November 12, 2019
FORT DUCHESNE, Utah — Two hundred citizens of the Ute Indian Tribe and their allies attended the Run/Walk/Rally for Missing and Murdered Indian People on Saturday, November 6, 2019 at Fort Duchesne, Utah. The event was part of the Tribe’s effort to create awareness to the critical issue facing Indian Country where thousands of Indigenous people go missing and murdered annually.
The event consisted of two days of activity. Two Ute Aunties and one young woman coordinated and planned the activities to never forget the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, Michelle Zuniga, her daughter Alejandra and Trini Wopsock..
The days started with a youth dinner followed by a concert and a healing session where people recognised their pain and shared it with the people there. This was facilitated by Dr. Robert “Battle Ax” Ornales a musician who opened his heart and soul to spread love, healing and music. Then a candlelight vigil was held were a candle was lit to remember a loved one.
On Saturday a four direction run started the day. Runners came from three directions and motorcycles came from the fourth. The meeting point was at the Ute Plaza when everyone met they walked as one over to Nuche Civic Center to begin the Rally and feast.
Before the feast began a letter to the Ute Indian tribe from Senator Elizabeth Warren was read to the crowd:
November 7, 2019
To the Ute Indian Tribe:
I want to begin by thanking you for all of the work that you do to bring attention to the crisis of missing
and murdered indigenous people. A problem not seen is a problem not fixed, and it’s people like you
across this country who are giving a voice to this silent crisis and urging Congress to treat this life-or—death issue with the urgency it demands.
For too long, the federal government has failed to uphold its promises to Tribal Nations and indigenous peoples. It is time for all of us to call on Congress to direct real resources towards addressing the disappearance of Native people and put an end to this crisis. In Congress, I supported including protections for Native victims of abuse in the 2013 reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act. But we must go further, starting with rolling back the Oliphant decision, recognizing full tribal authority to prosecute non-Native defendants, and providing funds for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Tribal sovereignty and full funding to allow Tribal Nations to keep their communities safe are not optional. We must commit as a country to the principle that every person deserves justice, regardless of whether they live in a large city, a rural town, or on a reservation. We must demand that Native voic es are heard and that their rights are respected. We must fight for full funding for housing, health care, education, and infrastructure for Native communities. We must work together to build the grassroots movement that will create big, structural change for Indian Country and communities all across the country.
I believe we are at a critical moment in our history. A moment when we must choose to take on each other’s fights as our own in order to build a better future for all of our kids. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m counting on you to stay in the fight and continue to call out injustice. I’m proud to fight alongside you for the dignity, respect, and investment Tribal Nations deserve.
Senator Elizabeth Warren Letter to Ute Indian Tribe
Native News Online photographs by Norm Sands: