Helena Indian Alliance marks ‘Red Dress Day’ (copy)
Friday marks the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, or Red Dress Day, and the Helena Indian Alliance is doing its part to help raise awareness.
Native Americans comprise 6.7% of Montana’s population, and they account for, on average, 26% of the state’s active missing persons cases, according to the Montana Department of Justice.
As of Tuesday morning, the department reported 166 active missing persons cases in Montana. Of those, 38 were listed as Indigenous.
Helena Indian Alliance representative Quincy Bjornberg said four of every five Indigenous women have been affected by violence in their lifetime.
“It’s something that touches every single family in our Indigenous communities,” Bjornberg said. “There are so many people missing, and no one is talking about it.”
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She spent part of her morning Wednesday distributing large paper dolls in red dresses to Last Chance Gulch businesses for display in their storefronts.
Red dresses will also be hung in a birch tree on the Helena Indian Alliance campus, all in an effort to raise awareness for the cause.
“It’s an epidemic,” Bjornberg said, encouraging people to “do more research, reach