When President Biden visits Louisiana Thursday he’ll be meeting with state and local leaders. Among them, Coushatta Tribal Chairman David Sickey.
“I consider it a high honor and a privilege to be able to sit down for a few minutes with the president,” said Chairman Sickey. “It will give us an opportunity to discuss the issues that are most important to us.”
Sickey says one of the primary issues he’ll be discussing with President Biden is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Studies show murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska native women, and rates of violence on reservations can be up to ten times higher than the national average.
The chairman says the Coushatta Tribe has not been affected by the issue, but calls it a “huge epidemic“ sweeping tribes across the country. He wants to do his part to help.
“These are wives, mothers, and daughters,” he said.
President Biden proclaimed May 5, 2021, as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. In the proclamation, Biden called on “all levels of government to support Tribal governments and Tribal communities’ efforts to increase awareness of the issue of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives through appropriate programs and activities.”
Here in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a similar proclamation, but also issued an executive order to create a MMIW task force. The group will partner with federal, state, interstate, and inter-tribal efforts to address the issue. In a statement, Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards said Chairman Sickey was instrumental in its creation.
“This is such a serious issue, and I’m grateful to Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Chairman David Sickey and other leaders who have been working tirelessly to bring attention to this injustice,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “We are committed to doing all we can to help fight this heartbreaking crime.”
The Coushatta Tribe has also helped produce documentaries on the MMIW issue. To learn more, click here.
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