RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) To draw attention the the levels of violence visited on Native American women across the country, marchers took to the streets of downtown Rapid City Wednesday
"I am here because of the missing and murdered indigenous women around the world," said Sandra Little.
About 90 people showed up on bright sunny day to share their concerns for women in Indian Country that go missing. As far back as 2011 Justice Department officials were calling violence against native women an epidemic.
A National Institute of Justice found that on some U.S. reservations women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average. But hard numbers are hard to find.
"There's no actual collection of data of how many women are missing and how many have been murdered," said Cante Heart, one of the event's organizers. "There's so many cases nationwide that have gone without justice, that have not been looked into. I feel our women have been pushed aside."
And the rapid City marchers want to see change.
"Our women are sacred all around the world. We're sacred," said Little. "We're life givers and we need protection."
But the message was also broader.
"We're not here just for women," said Heart. "We're here for all people in our community. We want a safe community for our children to grow up in. We want to create unity. We want to bridge the gap between Natives and non Natives in Rapid City."
The event organizers hope that their message doesn't ring out but once. They plan to hold a similar march in the spring.