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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Bring ‘Stolen Sisters’ home

By Elder Tanna Engdahl, Cowlitz Tribe, Vancouver
Published: September 3, 2019, 6:00am

Kudos to the Clark Partners Magazine, Summer 2019, published by the Clark College Foundation. The astonishing front cover by Mi’kmaq artist Loretta Gould is a dramatic punch to the title of the story: “Stolen Sisters.” The story by Claire Sykes explains that the red dresses symbolize the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, a growing phenomena in this country ignored by the media, until now.

The movement of native families tormented by lost loved ones erupted onto the national stage and brave Washington 14th District Rep. Gina Mosbrucker won a victory to have the Washington State Patrol begin compiling such information in this state. Without waiting for the results (which proved heartbreaking), Mosbrucker began the real battle to make changes.

Bolstered by a warrior in the movement, Earth-Feather Sovereign of the Colville Tribe, Mosbrucker and Rep. Mia Gregerson, D-SeaTac, pushed a second bill into passage in April which requires the state patrol to hire Indian liaisons to work directly with tribes to find the missing women. A reliable statewide database to record cases of missing females is part of the requirement. There is no short way to tell this story or even begin to describe the valor of native women who relentlessly pursued this change, or report about what pushed Mosbrucker into full battle.

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