HUDSON—May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP), formalized in a proclamation issued by President Biden to raise awareness of the fact that the murder rate of indigenous women is 10 times the national average.
A march and rally was conducted in Hudson on Friday, May 6 to demonstrate local solidarity with the proclamation. The event was organized by the Forge Project, which is a native-led art, culture and decolonial education initiative located on the unceded homelands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok in Upstate New York. It was the first event of its kind in the area and was supported by RISE (Radical Indigenous Survivance and Empowerment) as well as the Hudson City Council and Mayor Kamal Johnson’s office.
At the May 6 rally, Mayor Johnson formalized the citywide MMIP Day of Awareness May 5.
“We need to do more than just name a day, but get into action,” Mayor Johnson said at the rally.
“I’m glad to be an ally,” he said.
Among the speakers at the event was Candice Hopkins, citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, who is Forge Project’s executive director and chief curator.
“Native people are still here among us despite attempts of erasure,” she said.
Speaking of indigenous efforts to stop pipelines running through tribal lands she said, “When we talk about this, it is real for us— it affects our lives.”
Korina Emmerich, who is Puyallup living in Brooklyn, said that 4 of 5 indigenous women experience violence and 96% of that violence is from non-native perpetrators. She noted improper record keeping by government authorities.
“Our crises go unnoticed— we need to get people to pay attention to what is going on,” she said.
Other speakers included Demian Dine’Yazhi’, a Zuni Navaho transdisciplinary artist; Jabin Ahmed. whose organization, Jaago Hudson, represents sexual abuse and violence victors and survivors in the South Asian diaspora; Heather Bruegl, who is Onida/Stockbridge Munsee and former Forge director of Education; and Gabrielle Xavier, a youth staff member at Kite’s Nest in Hudson.
Signs and banners used in the march were made by volunteers at a workshop at ArtOmi in Ghent on May 1.