MMIWG artwork designed by Sarah Whalen-Lunn. We have been given permission to use this image. It is copyrighted by the original artist SWL.
The DIJ database logs cases of missing and murdered Indigenous womxn, girls, two spirit and relatives from the past and to the present. The data fields, if available, include: name, age, location of incident, cast number, home community, cases status, case notes, and are sorted by missing and murdered.
State departments and municipalities often have their own police departments and ways in which data is gathered. This creates stark gaps in information and data gathering. Many missing persons cases are not shared between agencies. State and local police departments are also not keeping track of race in a way that allows for transparency or accuracy on the disproportionate rates in which Alaska Native people go missing or have been murdered.
There is a nationwide movement raising awareness on the crisis of MMIWG2S although the gaps in data are prevalent. The 2017 Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) partnered with a tribal epidemiology center to begin the first study aimed at assessing the number and dynamics of cases of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native womxn and girls in cities across the United States. We know this data represents a drastic undercount of the realities of cases as many go unreported or are misreported.
Gathering Data, Protecting Our People
Data for Indigenous Justice helps our communities file Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests with various agencies to collect our own data. We are the first Indigenous-led effort to collect missing and murdered data for Indigenous people in Alaska. Our work in collecting this data brings awareness to the need of closing the data gaps and advocates and provides data to protect Indigenous womxn, girls and relatives in Alaska and beyond.
The database includes Indigenous womxn, girls, two spirit and peoples cases from communities across Alaska. We will continue to pursue research and data collecting, utilizing partnerships with tribal organizations, communities and individuals. We are able to continue growing this database to reflect the truth in MMIWG2S cases.
“The purpose of our organization is to steward and care for all of the data regarding our missing and murdered Indigenous persons in our Alaska Native community. We do this through stewardship, cultural values, respect and honoring our ancestors past and present in all of the work that we do.”
Charlene Aqpik Apok, DIJ executive director and Co-Founder