Governor Roy Cooper declared May 5 as a Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, raising awareness on the disproportionate rate of American Indian and Alaska Native women who have disappeared from their homes and lost their lives due to acts of violence. According to a study conducted on behalf of the United States Department of Justice, in some tribal communities Indigenous women face murder rates that are roughly 10 times the national average. In addition, the National Institute of Justice estimates that 84 percent of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime.
“The rate of crime committed against American Indian and Alaska Native women is disconcerting and even more disheartening considering the numbers do not capture the many crimes that may go unreported,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “We must continue to heighten awareness of this issue to ensure full engagement by law enforcement and to help families find closure.”
To date, there are approximately 90 unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children in North Carolina dating back to 1994. North Carolina has the second largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi and is home to eight state recognized tribes including the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony, and the Waccamaw-Siouan.
Established in 1971 by the NC General Assembly, the NC Department of Administration’s Commission of Indian Affairs serves as an advocate for local, regional, and national American Indian concerns. The Commission is also a hub for community resources, one of which aids women experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
“If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence, please know that help is available,” said Commission of Indian Affairs Director Greg Richardson. “We provide educational materials, resources and have volunteer advocates for tribal populations including the Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Meherrin, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan.”
For additional resources and information on North Carolina’s state recognized tribes, visit the NC Commission of Indian Affairs website for details.
Read Governor Cooper’s proclamation recognizing May 5 as a Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
View a special video of DOA Secretary Cashwell and Miss Indian North Carolina Jayla Locklear reading the proclamation.
About NCDOA and the NC Commission of Indian Affairs
The NC Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, the department oversees government operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs help to promote and assist diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved. The NC Commission of Indian Affairs advocates for the needs of American Indian residents in North Carolina. It administers programs and services to American Indian communities across the state, including education and resources to aid in social and economic development. The Commission also works to address disparities and promote unity among American Indian and non-Indian communities.