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Virtual Meeting Preps Community For National MMIWG Day

Red Ribbon Skirt Society

South Dakota’s Red Ribbon Skirt Society will hold a webinar this year to acknowledge the national day of awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Organizers want the online event to draw attention to the lives that are lost each year. 

For the past few years, an annual memorial walk has commemorated  the high number of Indigenous women, children and two spirit, or LGBT people who experience violence, are missing or are murdered. Lily Mendoza runs the Red Ribbon Skirt Society. 

“It’s still a major issue and it’s something that we can’t forget. I think we all are wrapped up in the pandemic, of course. Which we need to be and be aware of what’s going on. And I just don’t want us to forget this epidemic and to make sure that we’re still remembering those stolen sisters.” 

Speakers at the video event include a two spirit human trafficking survivor and Lauren Schad, a Lakota professional volley ball player and MMIW ambassador in Europe. Mendoza offers ways for people to remember and honor victims at home. 

“Building a prayer altar in their homes. Putting together a flower garden. Maybe hanging out a red dress. And if they don’t have a red dress, whatever they feel comfortable being able to put out maybe on their door, in a tree. Maybe share a meal that day in memory of a missing or murdered Indigenous girl or woman.” 

The group is partnering with the Youth Leadership Development Program from the Division of Indian Work in Minneapolis. Mendoza says there are plans to expand the Rapid City based society. 

“We’re going to go ahead and introduce our first young women’s Red Ribbon Skirt Society, which will be out of Minneapolis, so they can begin this work as well. We hope to put that in place and encourage other organizations that work with young women to begin to organize those Red Ribbon Skirt Society’s as well.” 

The meeting is open to the public on a video chat platform which allows up to 100 people to join. Lily Mendoza plans to record it and release it online.