Ida's Law Brings New Hope On Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women's Day


Wednesday, May 5th 2021, 5:30 pm
By: Brittany Toolis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

May 5 is National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Day. A new law passed this year aimed at bringing justice to indigenous victims and it made this year's event at the state Capitol especially emotional.

On Wednesday, dozens of families gathered to pray, sing and honor the missing and murdered people in their families. 

Tribal leaders said with the ink barely dry on Ida's Law, there's a new sense of hope to bring justice to the victims and their families.

"She was a mother, she was a sister, she belonged to this land, her ancestors belonged to this land," said Alecia Onzahwah about her daughter Skye. 

Onzahwah, like many others are remembering a loved one, taken too soon.

"Her name is Skye Jim, and she was killed on January 9 of this year," said Onzahwah.

"Her name is Grace Star. She was 16 years old," said the mother of another indigenous murder victim.

"I'm here representing my daughter, Britney Tiger, who went missing from Ada, Oklahoma, in 2018," said another mother, Bernadine Bear Heels.

"Lena was a member of the Kiowa Tribe. She was brutally and violently murdered. She fought for her life, and she lost that battle so I'm here to not let anyone forget her fight," said Fawn Tsatoke, president of the MMIP, Kiowa Chapter.

The sound of drums and singing echoed off the Capitol steps as it played host to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Awareness Day. 

The day comes on the heels of Gov. Kevin Stitt signing Ida's Law, which created a state task force to help grassroots organizations, like MMIP look into the cases.

"[the law] Makes sure murdered and missing indigenous women aren't forgotten and their cases don't become cold, and no one ever tries to solve what had happen to them," said Reggie Wassana, governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

The task force will also re-open cold cases like Ida Beard's, who has been missing since 2015. Tonya Factor, who is representing a woman killed in 2016, said the family is still waiting for answers.

"She has three children that is without a mother, so we'd like to have this case resolved so peace can come for this family," she said.

Those who attended the awareness day said they hope the signing of Ida's Law is just the first step in getting many of those cases solved and bringing closure to the victims' families.