FARGO — A ceremony and march to honor Indigenous people who have gone missing or been murdered will take place Friday, Feb. 14, in an effort to bring awareness to an issue that has affected thousands of Native Americans.
The annual event, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s March, began in 2015 with the help of the group Sing Our Rivers Red. Now, the Fargo Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Human Trafficking Task Force, which was started after the tragic murder of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, is organizing the event.
The day will begin with a water ceremony, including a prayer for the Red River and a smudging, a sacred Indigenous ceremony involving the burning of plants such as sage and tobacco. The crowd will march through downtown Fargo shortly after, followed by lunch and programming at the Plains Art Museum.
Amanda Vivier, a member of the local task force, said everyone is invited to attend. She said the march is an important way to “continue to bring awareness, to cry out to the community.”
Similar marches are also planned in the Minnesota cities of Minneapolis, Bemidji and Duluth on Friday.
The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people has claimed the lives of thousands in the 21st century alone. According to the Global Indigenous Council, about 6,000 Native women were murdered just in 2016. Still, the precise number of missing Indigenous people is unknown because of inadequate data collection.
For those wanting to attend the day’s events, the water ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Fargo. The march will start at 11 a.m. outside the Federal Building at 657 2nd Ave. N. Lunch will be served at the Plains Art Museum afterward, and programming, including talks from survivors and youth activities, will follow.
To find out more about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, read The Forum’s recent series:
- Part 3: Crisis of missing Indigenous people sparks activists, self-taught searchers to help families awaiting answers