May is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's Month

A group of indigenous women confidently walk down a city street while holding a red banner that reads: "no more stolen sisters." They are at a crowded protest. They are wearing coats, hats and gloves.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As we continue to work towards becoming a community which fully embraces Christ’s gospel of love for all of humanity, let us lift the First Peoples of this nation.


I have seen our synod and congregations gather to do the business of the church or to worship and be in fellowship together, and we are often faithful to call out the names of those indigenous people who first lived and cultivated the land. We call them: Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Miami, Fox, Menomonee, Ho-Chunk, Winnebago and many more.


Though we have begun to practice acknowledging the experiences of Native American people, there is more that we can do. We are called to action as we acknowledge that not only were tribes massacred and land stolen; our siblings were also subjected to “mission” schools designed to remove or completely oppress the freedom of cultural, religious and personal expression as well as their deep, sacred and rich heritage.


A part of the fallout from this oppression, the Native American community is experiencing an epidemic of sorts. Women and girls from Native American tribes all over the nation (like many women of color worldwide) are going missing or being murdered. This has prompted the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement.


“The National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing person database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases.”


This is an alarming statistic, and one that calls us as Christians to stand in solidarity, in prayer and in power with our Native American siblings. Here are some ways that we can do this:

  • MMIW Day on May 5 is the most widely celebrated observance across the US and Canada. Every year, individuals wear red, and attend marches, rallies, bike rides, fundraisers, and more to raise awareness for the MMIW cause and fight against the injustice that’s happening to Native women, girls and their families every day. To learn more, visit Native Hope’s website.
  • Participate in the ELCA #MMIW Sunday. All congregations are encouraged to choose any Sunday in May to share the truths about the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women using the worship resources provided here. Remember to post a photo on your post social media channels using the hashtags #MMIW and #ELCA!


We are our sibling’s keepers. Let’s unite this May with the Native American community to remember, to lament, to take action, to teach, to share and more! By doing this, we honor and celebrate their rich heritage, gifts and wisdom which have benefitted all of us in innumerable ways. Hope, Strength and Joy to you on the journey!