On Wednesday(May 5th) at Pioneer Park in Toppenish, WA. There was a small gathering. Due to Covid restrictions attendance was limited. But there was a small gathering. For The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Across the country and into Canada. Indigenous women are going missing at a high rate. Currently on the Yakama Nation. The tribe has about thirty-three cases. Those are the women that are reported missing.

Families gathered and wore red in remembrance of these Indigenous women. They brought signs with statistics. And pictures of loved ones who went missing. So people will know who that family member was.

Photo by D-Rez/TownSquare Media
Photo by D-Rez/TownSquare Media

To put it into perspective these women are someone's mom, daughter, niece, aunt, grandma, friend, or even sister.

Cissy Strong was a guest speaker. She began to talk about her sister, Rosenda Strong. Rosenda was a mother, daughter, and grandma. Rosenda Strong went missing in October of 2018. The search was on as Cissy did what she could to find her sister. Taking to social media and local pow wows. News about Rosenda was also gaining national attention.

Then on July 4th of 2019. A news story came out locally. That a woman's skeletal remains were found in a freezer. On the side of Highway 97 in Toppenish.

Now I remember seeing this story in the news. Thinking to myself, that is a tragic way to go. Then to be found in that way. But then days later, came the update on the woman that found in the freezer. Cissy's search was over.

Photo by D-Rez/TownSquare Media
Photo by D-Rez/TownSquare Media

As Cissy talked about her sister at this event. I could hear the pain she was going through. There are no words to describe this feeling. Cissy had mentioned that Rosenda's case is still ongoing with the FBI.

Other families talked about their loved ones. Including Destiny Lloyds's cousin. Destiny Lloyd was in her early twenties. Her cousin had said she went missing during Christmas. Then four days later. Destiny's body was found in a ditch.

This event was also a healing process for these families. It's never easy having to talk about a loved one at an event like this. Especially since some of the ladies on this list of missing women. Are my own relatives.

Towards the end of this event. Congressman Dan Newhouse(R) was in attendance. To meet with Cissy. Dan Newhouse brought out Rosenda Strong's name to the House floor. To help raise awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

All these families are now looking for, not only justice. But answers. No one has come forward with any information. That's all these families want, are answers.

What happened to Rosenda before her death? What happened to Destiny before she was found? And to all the other women that went missing and were found silenced, what happened? All these families are searching for answers and justice.

If someone knows something PLEASE come forward. Anyone with any information to help any of these families. Can call Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933

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National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Toppenish


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