Native Americans gathering in Boston to honor victims of violence

Massachusetts

FILE – In this Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, Jeannie Hovland, the deputy assistant secretary for Native American Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, poses with a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women mask, in Anchorage, Alaska, while attending the opening of a Lady Justice Task Force cold case office in Anchorage, which will investigate missing and murdered Indigenous women. From the nation’s capitol to Indigenous communities across the American Southwest, top government officials, family members and advocates are gathering Wednesday, May 5, 2021, as part of a call to action to address the ongoing problem of violence against Indigenous women and children. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Native Americans are gathering in Boston on Friday to remember Indigenous peoples who have been killed, gone missing or subjected to violence.

The afternoon event outside the North American Indian Center in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood is part of a national week of action honoring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Participants are being asked to wear red in a show of support.

Indigenous women are murdered at 10 times the national average in some areas of the country and at least 80% of Native American women have experienced violence, according to Mahtowin Munro, a leader of United American Indians of New England. They also experience disproportionately high rates of sexual assault, organizers said.

At least two Native American Massachusetts women have been killed in recent years, according to organizers. One of them was Jalajhia Finklea, an 18-year-old Mashpee Wampanoag teen shot to death last year. Her remains were found in Florida and her captor was killed by authorities in that state.

Raquel Halsey, executive director of the North American Indian Center of Boston, said state officials should ensure that domestic violence and sexual assault programs capture data on Indigenous peoples. She said many states and cities do not track how many are murdered or go missing, and federal statistics undercount the problem.

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