Spotlight: Not Invisible - Native Women on the Frontlines

June 02, 2021 Nia Tero Season 1
Spotlight: Not Invisible - Native Women on the Frontlines
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Spotlight: Not Invisible - Native Women on the Frontlines
Jun 02, 2021 Season 1
Nia Tero

This week, Seedcast is doing something a little different. We’re sharing an episode of the podcast “Not Invisible: Native Women on the Frontlines” by our friends and partners at Red House Project, whose primary focus is to shine a light on the overlooked crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, and 2-Spirit people (#MMIWGT2S) and the ties between that crisis and extractive industries on Turtle Island. In the episode of “Not Invisible” we’re sharing, co-hosts Tanis Parenteau and Shea Vassar talk with guests Jordan Marie Daniel and Rosalie Fish about using their platforms as athletes to create awareness and inspire action. 

The Seedcast team - including Host Jessica Ramirez, Senior Producer Jenny Asarnow, and Consulting Producer Julie Keck - are proud to bring you this episode of "Not Invisible." 

Is there another podcast that you'd like to see Seedcast partner with? Let us know on social media at @NiaTero (#Seedcast) or by writing to us at 

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Show Notes Transcript

This week, Seedcast is doing something a little different. We’re sharing an episode of the podcast “Not Invisible: Native Women on the Frontlines” by our friends and partners at Red House Project, whose primary focus is to shine a light on the overlooked crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, and 2-Spirit people (#MMIWGT2S) and the ties between that crisis and extractive industries on Turtle Island. In the episode of “Not Invisible” we’re sharing, co-hosts Tanis Parenteau and Shea Vassar talk with guests Jordan Marie Daniel and Rosalie Fish about using their platforms as athletes to create awareness and inspire action. 

The Seedcast team - including Host Jessica Ramirez, Senior Producer Jenny Asarnow, and Consulting Producer Julie Keck - are proud to bring you this episode of "Not Invisible." 

Is there another podcast that you'd like to see Seedcast partner with? Let us know on social media at @NiaTero (#Seedcast) or by writing to us at 

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

[Rooted by Mia Kami] (0:00)

Jessica Ramirez: Hey Seedcast listeners. This is Jessica Ramirez. Coming to you from Coast Salish territory. I’m back! Here at Seedcast, We support the rights and traditional ways of Indigenous peoples. We share stories, from around the world and honor guardians of the land, those who have lived in relationship with their traditional territories since time immemorial.

[Rooted by Mia Kami] 

JR: I’m really excited to try something new with you all this season. We’re going to share with you not only original episodes of Seedcast, But we want to provide more of a mutual exchange with other Indigenous podcasts. One of them you're going to hear today, And it's called Not Invisible. Native women on the frontlines. Not Invisible is a really rad podcast. It's sharing with us the world of Indigenous peoples, but specifically women on the front lines. It’s about Native women from around the world and how they are standing up to protect the planet. How they are combating climate change and, really, uncovering the issues around extractive industries and the impacts on Indigenous peoples. 

JR: But not only are they reporting all of this they're also sharing about the resilience practices that are so deeply important to the  cultural wellbeing of Native communities and the wellbeing of all people. One of the ways that extractive industries affect Native communities Is the crisis of Missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two spirit and trans folks - MM I W G 2 S T  for short.

JR: There are a number of reasons why Native women, girls, two spirit and trans folks are murdered, and go missing, And it’s at horrifyingly disproportionate rates. One reason is the oil and gas extraction industries on Turtle Island where workers live in “man camps” near or even on Tribal lands. In those places, there are more cases of sexual violence. The episode that you’re about to hear from Not Invisible is about that crisis, and it’s about two women who use their platforms as athletes to draw attention to it, Rosalie Fish and Jordan Marie Daniel. (2:43)

Jordan Marie Daniel:(2:45) I get to the starting line guns about to go off and all of those nerves, all of that just goes away. And I had 26 Indigenous women and girls’ names and I was going to say a prayer for them for every single mile. I'm so excited to bring this episode to you. Shoutout to the team of Not Invisible, Native Women on the Frontlines: Stina Hamlin, Jen Begeal, Vickie Ramirez, Barrie Adleberg, Renzo Spirit Buffalo, Amanda Erickson, and the host of this episode Tanis Parenteau and Shea Vassar.

Jessica Ramirez:
Here’s Not Invisible episode 5, originally released in August 2020.(3:35)

T: Tanis and welcome to episode five of not invisible, native women on the front lines. I'm your host, Tanis Peranteau, coming to you today from the traditional territory of the Dane-zaa, Dene-Tha,  otherwise known as Peace River Alberta. 

S: Osiyo everyone I'm Shea Vassar, and I'm currently occupying the part of Lenapehoking that some know as Brooklyn.

T: Today, we're speaking with two long distance runners, Jordan Marie Daniel and Rosalie Fish, who are using their abilities to spread the word of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two spirit and trans folks 

S: Running has been such an important activity for Indigenous groups for so long because of the spiritual element.

I know it helps me connect with the land and my own mental capacities. 

T: Let us first introduce you to Jordan.

J: My name is Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel. I am Kul Wicasa Lakota from the Kul Wicasa Oyate Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in central South Dakota

S: So your advocacy work has really blossomed in the last couple of years. When did all this start?

J:  I'm relatively new to being an advocate or labeled an activist or community organizer.

But I've known since I was in eighth grade that I wanted to get back to, to my relatives, um, and really work in Indian country. And with that came the goal of, I want to move to DC because that's where law is made. That's where all these decisions that are about us are being made. Um, and that's where I want to go is lobby and have an influence on policy.

And I went to college, took every Native American studies course that I could find and minored in it and volunteered at the tribe nearby my school, the Penobscot Indian nation, and even worked there for a couple years, um, after I had graduated before I moved to DC and it really kind of just brought me back into just being connected to the community and made me feel like this is what I want to be doing.

S: What did you do after that? (5:53)

J: I started working with the National Indian Health Board on basically just healthcare advocacy and working on the special diabetes programs for Indian, um, you know, advocacy efforts for contract support costs, Medicare. And health and wellness programs. We're really focused in Indian country, but more focused on our Native youth, um, and supporting them.

And a little bit of storytelling started happening there as we were planning for the Native Health. Native Youth Summit. And that was one of the components that I was helping to organize was making sure that the youth that were coming to this health summit, you know, had an opportunity to tell their story, to talk about the projects that they were creating in their own community, whether it was community gardens or programs to support their peers in terms of suicide prevention, efforts, and grief.

Um, and just really all of these amazing projects that these views were doing at such a young age, because that's one thing that really connects us all across Indian country, is we know what's happening in our communities, we know the adversities that's there. We know the hardships, whether it's personally or because we know someone who knows someone that's struggling with these issues.

And I landed a job with the Administration for Native Americans where, you know, I was, you know, a grants program specialists, basically helping all the communities that had received funding from this institution, you know, guide them and support them in implementing their amazing projects, resilient projects. Language revitalization, project, and environmental regulatory enhancement, project, business development, program development, all of these amazing programs that, you know, made me feel really happy and super proud of who we are.

Um, And it showed me the outside world doesn't really hear about the good things that's happening in Indian country. That inspired me to start blogging. From there I started doing, um, Uh, native in DC, which now it's Native Perspective and just really started highlighting these stories that were happening. (7:57)

The name, Not your Mascot and No KXL pipeline. Talking about, you know, the youth initiatives that were happening with center for native American youth and national Indian health board when they were flying in tribal leaders and youth leaders talking about, you know, the white house tribal nations conference, which I had the opportunity to represent my tribe at the time and I wrote about it. I started volunteering with youth who were coming to DC and even hosted some of them that were part of the champions for change program and center for native American youth. There's so much good that's happening despite all of the hardships that we've had to go through and our ancestors had to go through for us to be here today.

And I also wanted to talk about policies that were happening, legislation that was being proposed and, you know, reading legislation and the bills -- It's hard to read. You have like, I'm not a lawyer, but I did my best to try and dissect it and translate it. I really tried to be that bridge and connector of, you know, disseminating information.

And then at that time there were other Indigenous folks that were blogging and starting podcasts. Other people kind of thought the same way as I did. And I was happy that I wasn't the only one like contributing to this knowledge sharing. And then in 2016, you know, that’s when Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline site was happening. And I was reached out by a friend of mine to organize an event for the Standing Rock youth that were running over 2000 miles to DC to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline and deliver the letter to president Barack Obama at the time. And I had never organized anything in my entire life. I had only been to other rallies to support, you know, the people that I really looked up to and admired. (9:34)

Um, but I was like, okay, well I know how to run. So I'm just gonna organize a run for water, uh, rally and hopefully the kids will be okay with running two more miles from the Supreme Court to the Army Corps of Engineers headquarters. And it was the most stressful thing I've ever been through it. We ended up having like 30 police escorts that just randomly showed up because at the time we had open prayer songs throughout the entire thing, and we had music blasting, you know, in the car, in front of us as we were walking and running towards Army Corps.

And then we spent the rest of that morning and afternoon just protesting and trying to talk to people that were going in and out of the headquarters. And we helped organize, you know, special meeting that were only for the Native youth, no adults, no anybody else, um, that they had with Army Corps, you know, liaisons, White House liaisons, and Department of Justice liaisons, um, because we felt, you know, that their voices need to be heard.They were really the ones that began this movement for the water and, and to raise awareness about what's happening. 

A couple of weeks later, um, my grandfather had passed away. And that was one of the last things he knew that I was doing. And he said that he was proud of me and he had always been a huge native youth advocate and supporter, um, and really gave back to our youth and that's what I remember most about him. 

And a couple of weeks after he had passed away was the dog attack that happened in Standing Rock. And that was the first time where I was like, no, I can't just sit here and retweet and talk about this thing that's happening. This injustice that's been happening to Indigenous people and the youth that I had welcomed and was hanging out with and getting to know.

And that was what started me to get into activism and to start organizing. And it started out as me, by myself, sometimes showing up in front of the White House with my sign, you know, raising awareness about this and that grew into bigger crowds. And then I got to meet other Indigenous folks that were organizing and we collaborated. 

S: What a beautiful way to memorialize your grandfather. (10:49)

And that's where Rising Hearts came out. It was an Indigenous-led organizing group. That's grants funded, all volunteer based. The money that gets used either has been through like micro grants, um, or fundraising or out of my own pocket. Um, but really there to help elevate and center Indigenous voices.

And so we were there on the front lines in DC organizing at the court, trying to support standing rock. We partnered with Indigenous environmental network to help with native nations rise that happened after. Um, the, the police raids and the eviction after camp, um, we were on the national steering committee, um, for the people's climate March, where we got over 200,000 people to March for climate, um, social justice.

Um, and we would have done all these platforms and opportunities and like I, I wanted to be that connector. And if someone needed someone on their panel in their space, if it wasn't you, it was going to be someone else. Um, making sure that there is this ability of Black and Brown folks on the platforms. (12:49)

T: Representation is so important to remind our communities that we matter and that the fight continues.And we need to keep the pressure on. 

J: If you have an opportunity that, that you see, that you don't agree with or that you think is missing, um, call, call your congressional office. Call them and, you know, either urge them to vote no, or yes, depending on whatever that policy is or make them aware about this issue

And, um, I think, you know, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is a great example to use is trying to educate, you know, congressional leaders about this epidemic that is happening. There are just so many, there's so many ways to get involved, to educate yourself, but also to educate other people.

S: So much has happened since Standing Rock. What are you working on now?  (13:38)

J: Starting to organize now in the planning development is just doing another, MMIW education panel, um, where we invite local advocates, um, and elders to the table to just speak about what this issue is, go over, you know, the Urban Indian Health Institute report for those that may not be aware of this, go over the report published by Annita, Sovereign bodies Institute, that was focused on, um, North and South Dakota and Montana about, you know, pipelines and man camps and the MMIW rates and connections to the KXL pipeline. Um, and then go from there into creating a working group, like a local task force of what can we do as a community to help combat this? What can we do to make, take preventative measures to keep this from happening, whether it's MMIW, human sex trafficking, um, domestic violence, sexual assault, and, and try and build and create community solution. 

Because not enough is happening nationally to protect us. And it's going to be put on, you know, the grassroots, local community, trying to do everything they can to, to take action themselves. 

S: The Violence Against Women Act sometimes referred to as VAWA is a major policy that is constantly under debate. Can you share some insight on what is going on? (15:03)

The Violence Against Women Act sadly, as I've seen it in this last year has just been well over a year has been like a political football. I, our congressional leaders by majority of the Republicans who are not taking our safety seriously. And it's, it's been used as like a budget political football, and they're using it as budget leverage.

And this Violence Against Women Act should be made permanent. It shouldn't be reauthorized every X amount of years, because then as I've seen programs, you know, kind of get scared and worried if funding is going to be cut, if, if they have to stop providing these services to victims and survivors and families in the communities, um, because they're worried about having their budgets cut and that this program might not exist anymore. 

Um, because VAWA has a lot of, you know, sub grants under it that many have applied for, and you know, to not have that money permanently there, which it should be, that's out of the question, I don't understand why it's not. You know, it, it should be permanent and communities and advocates and families should feel safe and protected by having this.

And so it's really sad to see our communities kind of struggle and have having to worry every X amount of years. Wondering if they're still going to have a job, if they're still going to save and protect people. 

S: When did the MMIWG2ST crisis really become a reality or a passion for you? (16:35)

J: I started learning about MMIW when I was in college during one of my Native American studies classes, and I had first heard about the Highway of Tears and it kind of was a light bulb can be realizing, you know, this is a problem. And maybe all of those funerals that I had attended growing up or knew that were happening, you know, what happened to them.

And it made me question. Well, maybe I was living in this like safety bubble and my parents did a good job at protecting me from this, but it made me more curious as to like, what is happening? Why is this happening? Um, but it wasn't until a few years later when I went to my first Key XL rally and I was hearing the Indigenous women that were there organizing and speaking that I learned about man camps and the violence that's happening, like near those man camps, near the tribes or reserves in Canada and the United States. And then I started connecting all the dots. I was like, this is a real issue, but I was working. I was doing all these other things, but I didn't devote a whole lot of time into actually doing something about it. And it wasn't until Savannah LaFontaine-Greywind. When, what happened to her became national news.

And it was just heartbreaking and so tragic and left me feeling like. All right. I got to do something. And so I hosted my first and MMIW event. And it was a prayer vigil. And so many people came out. We had, um, and drums and prayers and solidarity. And from there is when I started talking about this more actively and started talking about VAWA more actively and started, you know, supporting and really sharing a lot of people that I knew that were basically experts or just advocates or community organizers focused on this epidemic. That's happening in our country. I started learning more about the Highway of Tears that, you know, the Indigenous people there, you know, were really -- They really kind of began this movement of MMIW and I just did all that I could to learn more about it and to stay in touch with it. And it wasn't until I was living in Los Angeles, um, in 2018 that I had the San Diego half marathon. And I was like, you know what? I want to do something for MMIW and to raise awareness about this.

So I decided to put the hashtag on my bib number instead of having my name, hoping that would spark conversations and questions and across the finish line. And yeah, it did work. I got like maybe a handful of people, but it still didn't feel enough, but I was still living in a new city. So I didn't devote a whole lot of time trying to organize.

I spoke at the Me Too rallies and Stop Kavanaugh, um, and the Women's March and stuff to, to help raise awareness and talk about this. But the following year in 2019, I did the same thing again at the San Diego half marathon and put MMIWG on my bib number. And it got a few more conversations starters, and then less than a month later, I had the opportunity to go to Boston, um, and support Dustin Martin and the youth that were part of Wings of America who were running the 5k and doing college visit at Harvard.

And I was really hesitant on what I would do. I wanted to do something that would hopefully bring a spotlight onto this issue and epidemic, and that I would be the messenger in doing this. I called my parents. My mom was driving up and I was like, can you guys get me face paint? And as I had the face paint sitting in the car, as my partner's driving me in a starting line, I, I was questioning, is this crazy?

I don't want this to be, look at ‘me’ statement because this isn’t about me. I, and then I also didn't want to take the attention off of the youth who were there and -- After thinking about it more and talking about it with my partner, I committed to doing it, painting the letters, MMIW on my arm, on my leg and putting the red hand print on my, on my, on my face, covering my mouth and representing the symbolic symbol of the woman who had been silenced by violence and by this epidemic, And I'm on the bus going to the starting line and everyone's staring at me and I, my ears are burning and I feel really uncomfortable, but I just keep thinking about why I'm doing it and what I'm there for. I get to the starting line guns about to go off and all of those nerves, all of that just goes away.

And I had 26 Indigenous women and girls names, and I was gonna say a prayer for them for every single mile. Um, and I would say their name at the beginning of that mile. And then say a prayer for them, for their families and for our community. And then I would try, enjoy the remaining mile until I did it again. Because it was the Boston marathon and I had dreams of running this and doing well at it and experiencing it, and it was everything that I could have hoped for and imagined it would be. And I crossed the finish line and the first woman I see is an Indigenous Mi'kmaq woman who, you know, was a marathoner herself and set world records. And so getting a hug from her was like everything that I needed in that moment, because I just started crying.

We both shared this emotional moment and talked about what I ran for, who I ran for and why and why it was so hard. And the last point too, of the marathon, that prayer is from my grandfather. 

S: This is such a powerful story in so many ways, the names for each mile, the last strides for your grandfather. (22:13)

J: it was emotional.

And I still didn't know what this would mean, but with one post on Twitter and one post on Instagram and talking about who I ran for and why I'm doing this. It got so much attention and their names, their stories, our story, our run, or seen and heard. And then that had an incredible effect on our younger generations, such as Rosalie Fish, who was inspired and asked for my blessing to do the same thing at her state meet a few weeks later.

And her and I have been, you know, good sisters to each other and have been a support system because we know what this feels like. 

S: Were there any other races you wore the hand print for? 

J: Um, I continued doing it for all the rest of 2019, with six races, dedicated to Indigenous relatives. I'm going to keep doing it.

And I'm going to try and find ways to protect me and my spirit to, to be able to do it in a good and healthy way. 

S: How did you choose the names you honored? It was a mix there, people that I had heard of that everyone has heard of like Savannah ( Amanda Webster ( and Olivia Lone Bear (, but they're also names that I did research for.

I wanted to find them. And that was a way for my prayer runs was that it was also to let them know that someone else, another person is looking for you and thinking about you too. And that's something I did for every single race. I would spend maybe a couple of weeks leading up to the race, looking for these names.

Trying to find their story, joining groups that were focused and dedicated to MMIW and just learning about them and making and that, and that was the hardest part in carrying these prayers in these names was learning their stories, especially when they went into detail of what happened to them. 

And I was having nightmares. I was having anxiety attacks and panic attacks, and still suffering from that. And some of the names are family that were from my community and some of them are just ones that never, you know, saw the time of day in the media and are still, you know, cold cases. And some that go back all the way to the seventies and present day.

S: This has been happening for so long. It's it's about time that more people knew about the crisis. Are there any organizations that you are working with? (24:45)

J: Supporting Sovereign Bodies Institute is a great way to do this, to help, you know, end the violence that's happening on missing and murdered Indigenous women and people and relatives that's happening in our communities.

They're the first database to really be tracking these cases so that we have an accurate count of what's happening and they're lobbying and supporting other states and other organizations that are lobbying for policies, um, for bills to, to be implemented and put in place. 

Supporting like National Indigenous Women's Resource center (, Native Alliance against Violence ( Um, the Alaskan Native Women's Resource Center ( Tribal Law and Policy Institute ( You have, you know, MMIWhoIsmissing ( and all of these other organizations that are just doing such great work, impactful, meaningful work. Mending the sacred hoop ( And on National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, they have a tab that has like, I think over 50 people that they've listed that focused on this.

S: And what's next for you? What are you working on now? 

J: I have some exciting you is I'm starting to produce on two Indigenous films. Um, one's focused on elevating this epidemic MMIW. And another one's focused on storytelling of three protagonists, three amazing people who were on the front lines of Standing Rock and kind of showing their story of what's happened after Standing Rock and how involved they're in the communities and what they're doing to help.

Um, as well as I'm gonna be working with Lululemon, who had reached out to me after the Boston marathon. And now I'm an actual global run ambassador. And looking to create a program that's giving back to Indigenous communities in Canada and here in United States, all across Turtle Island, um, that can hopefully bring healing, um, and just bring some excitement and support to the communities.

And so that's gonna be starting this year. Um, it's very early stages in the development, but I'm hoping it's an opportunity, one for me to go and help these communities get to know them, provide support, especially for native youth and health and wellness. And so I'm really excited about this opportunity. (27:05)

T: I can't wait to see what happens either. Jordan has already inspired so many, including the next generation with her work. Most notably Rosalie Fish. 

S: Rosalie was a high school track star. When she first saw the image of Jordan running the Boston marathon in the red face paint, and she was immediately inspired.

T: And now she's traveling around raising awareness. 

S: Plus she has a Ted talk. If that isn't tangible proof, that action creates change. I don't know what it is. So sit back and let's chat with miss Rosalie Fish.

R: (27:44) [Speaking in language] Hello. My name is Rosalie Fish. I grew up on the Muckleshoot reservation and I'm enrolled in the Cowlitz Tribe. I attend Iowa Central Community College where I am a student-athlete. 

S: So Rosalie, you have been running for some time, but what motivated you to start using your races as a platform for MMIWG2ST

R: What really made me decide to take action actually was watching Jordan Marie Daniel running the Boston marathon with the red handprint in order to symbolize the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic through her running platform. And that really inspired me and moved me to consider and take action to combat this epidemic and to serve my communities.

S: What did you do after deciding to use your high school races as a platform to bring awareness? 

R: So, I reached out to Jordan in May when I originally saw the photo of her with the hand print, when she ran in the Boston marathon. And I really just messaged her, telling her how much I admired her creativity and her strength and how much he cares for Native people and how I would really love to reflect that same strength and resilience and creativity by running in my state track meet with the red hand print.

And so I asked her permission to follow in her footsteps and she was extremely supportive and I was very starstruck at first just because she was a professional female Native athlete and really someone I had admired the minute that I realized who she was. Ever since I've ran with the paint, she's really been my mentor as far as beginning my life as an advocate.

S: Can you tell us what the red hand print means to you? (29:43)

R: So, to me, the red hand print is a symbol of the historical violence that has been present in Indigenous communities, especially within women. And it also represents. The silencing that Native American women face through violence, as well as not being able to use their voice.

I think as Native American girls and Native American women being present in watching other women and girls disappear and be taken from us, it can make the world an extremely scary place. As I was 16, a lot of missing and murdered Indigenous women cases were coming up in my community specifically, specifically with, um, Jacqueline Salyers ( for example, and, um, Renee Davis ( also happening.

And I was really beginning to notice just the frequency of the women being taken from their communities and then Indian Country Today and Urban Indian Health Institute actually started releasing. Some information about this is not just something that is individual to your reservation or to each individual's reservation, but rather this is a nationwide and now we're finding, um, a regional epidemic. There's a lot of statistics that the Urban Indian Health Institute and other Indigenous organizations have found that are really just staggering. And one of those is murder is a third leading cause of death and native American women. Another is that some women on some reservations are up to 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average.

Along with that, every four out of five Native American women will experience some type of physical sexual or psychological violence. And it's really just these high proportions, native American women facing violence that make this a crisis. 

S: How do people react when you tell them the numbers? 

R: When I tell native communities about these numbers, I wouldn't really call them surprised.

I don't think those reactions from native American communities are surprised because they've been living these numbers. Although, when I do tell non-native communities about these rates, they are very alarmed and they're almost unable to believe that a crisis at this scale has been happening under the radar. (32:23)

S: Have you received any pushback? 

R: The only pushback I've ever received about my activism is, um, when I run with the paint because a lot of people may consider that that is a political action that is intersecting with sports and I've received the most pushback that I ever have in that area specifically. I don't care, no matter what the pushback is, even if my platform is specifically sports, because I would take all of the pushback in the world as opposed to just accepting my reality and my fate.

To me, I think, no matter what our platforms or our careers are, we are multi-dimensional and we have every right to express the concerns of our people and our communities. 

S: Are you in an area that knows that Native people exist?

R: I would say that I am in an area specifically in my colleges where there isn't a lot of native presence or visibility.

And so sometimes when I do speak about the epidemic or my activism, there are a few select people who are very supportive and very understanding and sympathetic, but there are others who aren't really used to this type of, um, activism or presence. And it can actually make some very uncomfortable to cover such heavy topics.

I would say that it's normal to be uncomfortable when speaking about such emotionally tolling topics, but to not talk about these issues is to allow them to continue. I really think if people focused a little bit more on violence against women in general, and then highlighted the intersectionalities that women can face and therefore increase their vulnerability to violence, that that would really cover a lot of basis as far as protecting women, because when you protect all women, Indigenous women are in there as well. If you covered these non-Native spaces with addressing violence against women in general, and then focused on the MMIW epidemic and talked about the intersection that makes Indigenous women so vulnerable to violence, it could really be groundbreaking to protecting Indigenous women and all women. (34:50)

S: What motivates you to keep doing the work, you know, to keep talking about the violence and bringing the attention to the crisis?

R: What really keeps me going in the moments where I feel like I'm being invalidated or devalued is really my community and my home.

I can reflect and remember the moments where I've spoken to the children of the women that I ran for and the sister of a, of a girl who's missing. And I remember that these people, these relatives are why I continue to work and why I continue to push against this occurring. 

S: What would you recommend to other people who want to get involved?

R: A kind word here and there really does make a difference.

R: It really means a lot to me to see allies, specifically non-native allies, advocating for native issues, whether it be just educating others on maybe the racism that comes with native mascots or de-bunking native American stereotypes when they hear them or advocating for land acknowledgement. When I see non native allies advocate for these issues, it makes me feel a lot stronger because I know that native people are not alone.

And I, I can see that progress. And so that's something that really helps me ease my conscience and it helps take off that weight. 

S: What does change look like to you? 

R: I think legislation is really where I'm looking to see some type of reform. I would actually like to see the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, um, supported and put into, put into action because it does actually acknowledge Indigenous women, and while also providing a lot of support for, um, women who have experienced sexual assault. And I think it would just really make a big difference in the violence that Indigenous women are facing and the institutional barriers that we see today.

R: I'm starting to see more and more, little by little more coverage, more Indigenous voices involved.

But I would say it is not quite enough because the mainstream of people, the dominant culture is still does not know about this epidemic. And so while I am seeing a lot of news networks going the extra mile and making sure that they're including Indigenous women and Indigenous voices, it's just not quite enough.

It's not everybody. But I think that we are on the path to change in awareness. (37:42)

S: Are there other advocates, your age that I've decided to also bring awareness? I've seen a lot of Native American runners and a lot of Native American students begin to wear the red hand print during their athletic events in order to raise awareness.

And that does give me a lot of hope to see that they do want to take a stand and they want to be active in raising awareness for their communities. So I am seeing a lot of, um, youth involvement 

S: What do the next steps for MMIWG2ST advocacy look like to you. 

R: My next steps are to, can you continue to take any opportunities that I have to continue to raise awareness for the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic and to also involve fellow Indigenous voices and activists to also have their perspectives out there, their words, and really just keep fighting for that visibility.

T: Wow. Amazing stories, 

S: no matter how big or how small doing what you can to help your Indigenous community is power. Wado to Jordan and Rosalie. 

T: Yes. Ay-hay, thank you. I'm Tanis Peranteau, 

S: and I'm Shea Vassar. 

T: And this has been Not Invisible, Native women on the front lines. Thanks for listening. Join us next time when we speak to Sonny red bear about activism and filling the need in your own community. 

This has been Not invisible native women on the front lines a Red House series production. This episode of not invisible was produced by Stina Hamlin and Barrie Adleberg, written by Vicki Ramirez, Shea Vassar and Barry Adleberg; edited by Stina Hamlin and mixed by Matt Gundy.

Theme song Another Side by Wild Whispers and produced by Ben Reno, Eli Lev, and Megan Leigh. Our executive producer is Jen Begeal. I'm your host Tanis Parenteau.

Jessica Ramirez: (40:00)

Hey everyone, Jessica Ramirez here with Seedcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Not Invisible. It was originally released in August 2020 and just so you know,the film that Jordan mentioned, the one about Standing Rock, is actually a film that Nia Tero is funding. And I have an update for you - there’s been some movement on the Violence Against Women Act in the United States that folks mentioned in the podcast. The re-authorization of the act passed the U-S House of Representatives in March and it gives tribes more authority to prosecute non-tribal offenders for violence they commit against women on tribal lands. This would be huge for tribes. The bill is now sitting in the U-S Senate waiting for a vote. 


JR: You can find Not Invisible wherever you get your podcasts and they have a Season 2 coming out soon. Follow the folks from Not Invisible on Patreon at Red House Series. If there are other podcasts that you're listening to - or making that center the lives of Indigenous people and are made by Indigenous people, please send them our way. 

JR: Email us at seedcast at Nia Tero dot org or connect with us on social media @Nia Tero. We're so excited to learn more. And we’d love to hear from you. Nia Tero is a Seattle-based foundation. We’re both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. With a mission to secure Indigenous guardianship of all vital ecosystems. That means we provide support to Indigenous peoples globally. Who are protecting their homelands from colonization and destruction. Their practices are one of our best guides for making Earth livable for humans and other species for generations to come.  

JR: Our Senior Producer is Jenny Asarnow, Our Fact Checker is Romin Lee Johnson, Our Producer is Felipe Contreras, Our Marketing Manager is Julie Keck, Our Social Media Manager is Hannah Pantelleo, Our Executive Producer is Tracy Rector, Our theme song is by Mia Kami

I’m Jessica Ramirez.

We’ll be back with an original Seedcast episode in a couple of weeks. 

Thanks for listening.  

[Music by Mia Kami] (43:24)