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San Diego honors missing and murdered Indigenous women



Keely Linton knows first-hand about the abuse suffered by Indigenous women.

She experienced domestic abuse, and she saw that violence reflected in the experiences of family and friends, and through her advocacy work.

But because of lapses in reporting and a lack of coordination between tribal, county and federal governments, Linton — who is Íipay and Cupeno Native from the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians — said accurate, local data is hard to come by.

“There’s just a lack of research and collective data to really know how many have been missing, how many have been murdered,” Linton said. “It’s really not something that has really been tracked properly.”

Linton is the executive director for Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, a tribal nonprofit in Valley Center that has advocated on behalf of those impacted by sexual abuse, physical violence and sex trafficking since 2005.

With a proclamation announced Wednesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Mayor Todd Gloria and Indigenous advocates joined others nationwide in an effort to increase awareness and transparency in support of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

“We must acknowledge the tragedy that Indigenous mothers, daughters, sisters and friends have gone missing or been murdered at a rate much higher than any group,” Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that by bringing awareness to this crisis, we will encourage San Diegans to discover ways in which they can rally around our indigenous communities to offer understanding, protection and care.”

The local proclamation echoed one made Tuesday by President Biden, who established May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. READ MORE