OTW Missing Women

was touched on in the Gabby thread and I didnt feel quite right posting this there , so here we are....



By GILLIAN FLACCUS
52 mins ago

YUROK RESERVATION, Calif. (AP) — The young mother had behaved erratically for months, hitchhiking and wandering naked through two Native American reservations and a small town clustered along Northern California’s rugged Lost Coast.

But things escalated when Emmilee Risling was charged with arson for igniting a fire in a cemetery. Her family hoped the case would force her into mental health and addiction services. Instead, she was released over the pleas of loved ones and a tribal police chief.

The 33-year-old college graduate — an accomplished traditional dancer with ancestry from three area tribes — was last seen soon after, walking across a bridge near a place marked End of Road, a far corner of the Yurok Reservation where the rutted pavement dissolves into thick woods.

A picture of missing woman Emmilee Risling sits on a table at the Risling family home on Jan. 21, 2022, in McKinleyville, Calif. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

Her disappearance is one of five instances in the past 18 months where Indigenous women have gone missing or been killed in this isolated expanse of Pacific coastline between San Francisco and Oregon, a region where the Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Tolowa and Wiyot people have coexisted for millennia. Two other women died from what authorities say were overdoses despite relatives’ questions about severe bruises.

The crisis has spurred the Yurok Tribe to issue an emergency declaration and brought increased urgency to efforts to build California’s first database of such cases and regain sovereignty over key services.

“I came to this issue as both a researcher and a learner, but just in this last year, I knew three of the women who have gone missing or were murdered — and we shared so much in common,” said Blythe George, a Yurok tribal member who consults on a project documenting the problem. “You can’t help but see yourself in those people.”

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Yurok Tribal Police Chief Greg O'Rourke visits the last confirmed location on Jan. 19, 2022, where Emmilee Risling was seen before going missing in October 2021, in Klamath, Calif. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

The recent cases spotlight an epidemic that is difficult to quantify but has long disproportionately plagued Native Americans.

A 2021 report by a government watchdog found the true number of missing and murdered Indigenous women is unknown due to reporting problems, distrust of law enforcement and jurisdictional conflicts. But Native women face murder rates almost three times those of white women overall — and up to 10 times the national average in certain locations, according to a 2021 summary of the existing research by the National Congress of American Indians. More than 80% have experienced violence.

In this area peppered with illegal marijuana farms and defined by wilderness, almost everyone knows someone who has vanished.

Yurok Tribal Police Chief Greg O'Rourke drives through the Yurok Reservation while revisiting the sites where Emmilee Risling was last seen, Jan. 19, 2022, in Klamath, Calif. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

Missing person posters flutter from gas station doors and road signs. Even the tribal police chief isn’t untouched: He took in the daughter of one missing woman, and Emmilee — an enrolled Hoopa Valley tribal member with Yurok and Karuk blood — babysat his children.

In California alone, the Yurok Tribe and the Sovereign Bodies Institute, an Indigenous-run research and advocacy group, uncovered 18 cases of missing or slain Native American women in roughly the past year — a number they consider a vast undercount. An estimated 62% of those cases are not listed in state or federal databases for missing persons.

Hupa citizen Brandice Davis attended school with the daughters of a woman who disappeared in 1991 and now has daughters of her own, ages 9 and 13.

“Here, we’re all related, in a sense,” she said of the place where many families are connected by marriage or community ties.

She cautions her daughters about what it means to be female, Native American and growing up on a reservation: “You’re a statistic. But we have to keep going. We have to show people we’re still here.”

Maile Kane, 13, left and her sister Gracie Kane, 9, jump on a trampoline outside their home on Jan. 20, 2022, in Hoopa, Calif. The girl's mother, Brandice Davis, said she grew up with the missing woman Emmilee Risling and worries about the safety of her own daughters. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

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Like countless cases involving Indigenous women, Emmilee’s disappearance has gotten no attention from the outside world.

But many here see in her story the ugly intersection of generations of trauma inflicted on Native Americans by their white colonizers, the marginalization of Native peoples and tribal law enforcement’s lack of authority over many crimes committed on their land.

Virtually all of the area’s Indigenous residents, including Emmilee, have ancestors who were shipped to boarding schools as children and forced to give up their language and culture as part of a federal assimilation campaign. Further back, Yurok people spent years away from home as indentured servants for colonizers, said Judge Abby Abinanti, the tribe’s chief judge.

The trauma caused by those removals echoes among the Yurok in the form of drug abuse and domestic violence, which trickles down to the youth, she said. About 110 Yurok children are in foster care.

“You say, ‘OK, how did we get to this situation where we’re losing our children?’” said Abinanti. “There were big gaps in knowledge, including parenting, and generationally those play out.”

Abby Abinanti, chief judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, talks about improvements to the tribal court system which she hopes could prevent cases like the disappearance of Emmilee Risling on Jan. 20, 2022, in Klamath, Calif. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

An analysis of cases by the Yurok and Sovereign Bodies found most of the region’s missing women had either been in foster care themselves or had children taken from them by the state. An analysis of jail bookings also showed Yurok citizens in the two-county region are 11 times more likely to go to jail in a given year — and half those arrested are female, usually for low-level crimes. That’s an arrest rate for Yurok women roughly five times the rate of female incarcerations nationwide, said George, the University of California, Merced sociologist consulting with the tribe.

The Yurok run a tribal wellness court for addiction and operate one of the country’s only state-certified tribal domestic violence perpetrator programs. They also recently hired a tribal prosecutor, another step toward building an Indigenous justice system that would ultimately handle all but the most serious felonies.

The Yurok also are working to reclaim supervision over foster care and hope to transfer their first foster family from state court within months, said Jessica Carter, the Yurok Tribal Court director. A tribal-run guardianship court follows another 50 children who live with relatives.

The long-term plan — mostly funded by grants — is a massive undertaking that will take years to accomplish, but the Yurok see regaining sovereignty over these systems as the only way to end the cycle of loss that’s taken the greatest toll on their women.

“If we are successful, we can use that as a gift to other tribes to say, ‘Here’s the steps we took,’” said Rosemary Deck, the newly hired tribal prosecutor. “‘You can take this as a blueprint and assert your own sovereignty.’”

Students at Trinidad Elementary School use shadow puppets to tell the traditional Yurok story of a little bird seeking refuge on Jan. 19, 2022, in Trinidad, Calif. Schools near the Yurok reservation have begun teaching tribal and non-tribal students alike about their peoples' history as part of a plan to reinforce cultural roots with the tribes youngest members. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

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Emmilee was born into a prominent Native family, and a bright future beckoned.

Starting at a young age, she was groomed to one day lead the intricate dances that knit the modern-day people to generations of tradition nearly broken by colonization. Her family, a “dance family,” has the rare distinction of owning enough regalia that it can outfit the brush, jump and flower dances without borrowing a single piece.

At 15, Emmilee paraded down the National Mall with other tribal members at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The Washington Post published a front-page photo of her in a Karuk dress of dried bear grass, a woven basket cap and a white leather sash adorned with Pileated woodpecker scalps.

The straight-A student earned a scholarship to the University of Oregon, where she helped lead a prominent Native students' group. Her success, however, was darkened by the first sign of trouble: an abusive relationship with a Native man whom, her mother believes, she felt she could save through her positive influence.

Later, Emmilee dated another man, became pregnant and returned home to have the baby before finishing her degree.

She then worked with disadvantaged Native families and eventually got accepted into a master’s program. She helped coach her son’s T-ball team and signed him up for swim lessons.

In this 2014 photo provided by Gary Risling, Emmilee Risling, right, poses after her graduation from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., with her great-aunt and adoptive grandmother Viola Risling-Ryerson. (Gary Risling via AP)

But over time, her family says, they noticed changes.

Emmilee was uncharacteristically tardy for work and grew more combative. She often dropped off her son with family, and she fell in with another abusive boyfriend. Her son was removed from her care when he was 5; a girl born in 2020 was taken away as a newborn as Emmilee’s behavior deteriorated.

Her parents remain bewildered by her rapid decline and think she developed a mental illness — possibly postpartum psychosis — compounded by drugs and the trauma of domestic abuse. At first, she would see a doctor or therapist at her family’s insistence but eventually rebuffed all help.

After her daughter’s birth, Emmilee spiraled rapidly, “like a light switched,” and she began to let go of the Native identity that had been her defining force, said her sister, Mary.

“That was her life, and when you let that go, when you don’t have your kids ... what are you?” she said.

Mary Risling stands near a photo of her missing sister, Emmilee Risling, at the family home on Jan. 21, 2022, in McKinleyville, Calif. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

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In the months before she vanished, Emmilee was frequently seen walking naked in public, talking to herself. She was picked up many times by sheriff’s deputies and tribal police but never charged.

The only in-patient psychiatric facility within 300 miles (480 kilometers) was always too full to admit her. Once, she was taken to the emergency room and fled barefoot in her hospital gown.

“People tended to look the other way. They didn’t really help her. In less than 24 hours, she was just back on the street, literally on the street,” said Judy Risling, her mother. “There were just no services for her.”

In September, Emmilee was arrested after she was found dancing around a small fire in the Hoopa Valley Reservation cemetery.

Then-Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Chief Bob Kane appeared in a Humboldt County court by video and explained her repeated police contacts and mental health problems. Emmilee mumbled during the hearing then shouted out that she didn’t set the fire.

She was released with an order to appear again in 12 days after her public defender argued she had no criminal convictions and the court couldn’t hold her on the basis of her mental health.

Then, Emmilee disappeared.

“We had predicted that something like this may ... happen in the future,” said Kane. “And you know, now we’re here.”

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If Emmilee fell through the cracks before she went missing, she has become even more invisible in her absence.

One of the biggest hurdles in Indian Country once a woman is reported missing is unraveling a confusing jumble of federal, state, local and tribal agencies that must coordinate. Poor communication and oversights can result in overlooked evidence or delayed investigations.

The problem is more acute in rural regions like the one where Emmilee disappeared, said Abigail Echo-Hawk, citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and director of the Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle.

“Particularly in reservations and in village areas, there is a maze of jurisdictions, of policies, of procedures of who investigates what,” she said.

Moreover, many cases aren’t logged in federal missing persons databases, and medical examiners sometimes misclassify Native women as white or Asian, said Gretta Goodwin, of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s homeland security and justice team.

Recent efforts at the state and federal level seek to address what advocates say have been decades of neglect regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Former President Donald Trump signed a bill that required federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies to create or update their protocols for handling such cases. And in November, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to set up guidelines between the federal government and tribal police that would help track, solve and prevent crimes against all Native Americans.

A number of states, including California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona, are also taking on the crisis with greater funding to tribes, studies of the problem or proposals to create Amber Alert-style notifications.

A pedestrian walks near End of Road on Jan. 19, 2022, where Emmilee Risling was last seen before going missing in October 2021, in Klamath, Calif. (AP Video/Nathan Howard)

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continues......


_____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14

Comments

  • tishtish gonePosts: 4,317
    Distant relative:

  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 26,117
    Washington OKs 1st statewide missing Indigenous people alert
    By GILLIAN FLACCUS and TED S. WARREN
    Today

    TULALIP, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday signed into law a bill that creates a first-in-the-nation statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people, to help address a silent crisis that has plagued Indian Country in this state and nationwide.

    The law sets up a system similar to Amber Alerts and so-called silver alerts, which are used respectively for missing children and vulnerable adults in many states. It was spearheaded by Democratic Rep. Debra Lekanoff, the only Native American lawmaker currently serving in the Washington state Legislature, and championed by Indigenous leaders statewide.

    “I am proud to say that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s and People’s Alert System came from the voices of our Native American leaders,” said Lekanoff, a member of the Tlingit tribe and the bill’s chief sponsor. “It’s not just an Indian issue, it’s not just an Indian responsibility. Our sisters, our aunties, our grandmothers are going missing every day ... and it’s been going on for far too long.”

    Tribal leaders, many of them women, wore traditional hats woven from cedar as they gathered around Inslee for the signing on the Tulalip Reservation, north of Seattle. Afterward they gifted him with a handmade traditional ribbon shirt and several multicolored woven blankets.

    The law attempts to address a crisis of missing Indigenous people — particularly women — in Washington and across the United States. While it includes missing men, women and children, a summary of public testimony on the legislation notes that “the crisis began as a women’s issue, and it remains primarily a women’s issue.”

    Besides notifying law enforcement when there’s a report of a missing Indigenous person, the new alert system will place messages on highway reader boards and on the radio and social media, and provide information to the news media.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday signed into law a bill that creates a first-in-the-nation statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people, to help address a silent crisis that has plagued Indian Country in this state and nationwide. (March 31)

    The legislation was paired with another bill Inslee, a Democrat, signed Thursday that requires county coroners or medical examiners to take steps to identify and notify family members of murdered Indigenous people and return their remains. That new law also establishes two grant funds for Indigenous survivors of human trafficking.

    This piece of the crisis is important because in many cases, murdered Indigenous women are mistakenly recorded as white or Hispanic by coroners' offices, they're never identified, or their remains never repatriated.

    A 2021 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found the true number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. is unknown due to reporting problems, distrust of law enforcement and jurisdictional conflicts. But Native American women face murder rates almost three times those of white women overall — and up to 10 times the national average in certain locations, according to a 2021 summary of the existing research by the National Congress of American Indians. More than 80% have experienced violence.

    In Washington, more than four times as many Indigenous women go missing than white women, according to research conducted by the Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle, but many such cases receive little or no media attention.

    The bill signing began with a traditional welcome song passed down by Harriette Shelton Dover, a cherished cultural leader and storyteller. Dover recovered and shared many traditions and songs from tribes along Washington's northern Pacific Coast and worked with linguists before her death in 1991 to preserve her language, Lushootseed, from extinction. Women performed an honor song after the event.

    Tulalip Tribes of Washington Chairwoman Teri Gobin said Washington and Montana are the two states with the most missing Indigenous people in the U.S. Nearly four dozen Native people are currently missing in Seattle alone, she said.

    “What’s the most important thing is bringing them home, whether they’ve been trafficked, whether they’ve been stolen or murdered,” she said. “It’s a wound that stays open, and it’s something that we pray with (for) each person, we can bring them home."

    Investigations into missing Indigenous people, particularly women, have been plagued by many issues for decades.

    When a person goes missing on a reservation, there are often there are jurisdictional conflicts between tribal police and local and state law enforcement. A lack of staff and police resources, and the rural nature of many reservations, compound those problems. And many times, families of tribal members distrust non-Native law enforcement or don't know where to report news of a missing loved one.

    An alert system will help mitigate some of those problems by allowing better communication and coordination between tribal and non-tribal law enforcement and creating a way for law enforcement to flag such cases for other agencies. The law expands the definition of “missing endangered person” to include Indigenous people, as well as children and vulnerable adults with disabilities or memory or cognitive issues.

    The law takes effect June 9 and some details are still being worked out. For example, it's unclear what criteria law enforcement will use to positively identify a missing person as Native American and how the information will be disseminated in rural areas, including on some reservations, where highways lack electronic reader boards — or where there aren't highways at all.

    The measure is the latest step Washington has taken to address the issue. The Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force is working to coordinate a statewide response and had its first meeting in December. Its first report is expected in August.

    Many states from Arizona to Oregon to Wisconsin have taken recent action to address the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women. Efforts include funding for better resources for tribal police to the creation of new databases specifically targeting missing tribal members. Tribal police agencies that use Amber Alerts for missing Indigenous children include the Hopi and Las Vegas Paiute.

    In California, the Yurok Tribe and the Sovereign Bodies Institute, an Indigenous-run research and advocacy group, uncovered 18 cases of missing or slain Native American women in roughly the past year in their recent work — a number they consider a vast undercount. An estimated 62% of those cases are not listed in state or federal databases for missing persons.

    continues. ......



    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 32,659
    tish said:
    Distant relative:

    Any update @tish ?
    I think I'll move to Australia


  • tishtish gonePosts: 4,317
    Prolly lost n gone forever
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