Injustice is an unsettling reality, a cruel acquaintance to the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Despondent, I'm a powerless witness to the LaFontaine-Greywind family's pain. Savannah was a beautiful Indigenous mother-to-be, one of far too many of our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends who have "disappeared," been raped, abused, mutilated and cast aside. Those who are recovered are still gone, their perpetrators are disappeared and no one is held to account.
The disproportionate rate at which our women are victimized without consequence is mortifying to this Indigenous mother of daughters, grandmother of granddaughters. Statistics reflect reality and polite society could care less. Offenders act with impunity in fellowship with complicit witnesses conditioned to erase us: The only good Indian is a dead Indian.
It's abundantly clear that there is no expectation for justice on behalf of any Indigenous woman, man or child in this area. There is a visceral abhorrence for us in the Dakotas and friendly Minnesota. A wanton loathing, unashamed when revealed, compliments of the puffed up, thin-skinned, pear- clutching descendants of murderers and thieves. In the eyes of those who sit in judgment, we aren't human anyway. Proclaiming righteousness, their version of the word of God is written to justify oppression and superiority (just like Jesus commanded). Congregations elect to ignore injustice revealed in policy and practice (you will know them by their fruit).
It's laborious to confront hate and witness hypocrisy in this pro-life, Christian nation. Whose life, by the way? Hunting season is perpetual when it comes to us. It's just Tuesday, or Friday, or Sunday...
And what of this "justice system" that was never intended to serve or protect us? Crafted to ensure the removal of my people for "Providence" or industry's sake, "real" Americans, patriots for whom this country is free. A system that just declared the Indian Child Welfare Act racist and imposed a voter ID law days before our midterm election, an intentional effort to quash the Native vote. Ancillary to the matter at hand, but do you see what I mean?
Savannah, Olivia (Lone Bear) and far too many are gone, their children left motherless. And what report memorialized those gathered in mourning, enraged by injustice, walking on behalf of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women? A critique of dialect wrought through pain, fodder for the beer-swilling crowd. Let the grammarians laugh, because the ability to convey the soul-searing pain of the aggrieved is a distant goal for the scribe. But there is no need to convey anything but mockery when that's all it's about anyway: just another dead Indian (or two, or three, or who cares really?). The article served its purpose: to perpetuate the ridicule of Indigenous peoples' pain, an exhibit of inequity that is tolerated, proscribed.
Surely we can do better.
Jones lives in Fargo.