The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is hosting an event Thursday in Elton to celebrate the signing of an executive order by Governor John Bel Edwards creating a Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force.
The order, signed May 5, recognizes that day as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day and created a task force to address the causes of MMIWG. The task force also aims to recommend solutions that can be implemented to protect Indigenous women and girls.
The order was the result of collaboration between Chairman David Sickey of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and the Global Indigenous Council.
Louisiana's First Lady, Donna Edwards, recognized Chairman Sickey for his efforts on MMIWG. "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."
In honor of the executive order, the Coushatta Tribe is holding a celebration event Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the Elton High School gym, which is to be turned into a theater for the evening. Two new short films about the MMIW crisis in the United States will be shown, and after that a discussion panel will be held featuring the films' director, RAIN, Coushatta Tribal member and presenter Juliet Hayes, and Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States.
The event is free and open to the public.
Somebody's Daughter focuses on some of the higher-profile MMIW cases, and using historical points of reference, the victims' and their families' stories are told through the lens of the legal jurisdictional maze and socio-economic bondage that constricts Indian Country. For the first time on film, tribal leaders reveal the devastating roles of drug cartels and gangs in the MMIW crisis and the purpose of Somebody's Daughter is to alert lawmakers and the public alike that the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women crisis exists and demands urgent action.
Say Her Name features twenty-three-year-old Coushatta tribal member Juliet Hayes, who is receiving excellent reviews for her debut in the recently completed film, said to be one of the most impactful Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls documentaries ever made. Hayes will speak about her experiences in Big Horn County, MT which has become an epicenter of the MMIWG crisis, and of the missing girls and their families whose stories she followed.
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