Native women are going missing at epic rates. A 19-year-old wants you to know why.

Some college students spend their spring break partying in the Caribbean. This student walked 80 miles in four days to help Native American women.

Marita GrowingThunder, a freshman at University of Montana, walked 20 miles per day across the Flathead Indian Reservation from March 25 to 28. The goal of her “Save Our Sisters” walk? To raise awareness about violence against native women.

Marita GrowingThunder (third from left) and supporters of her 80-mile walk through the Flathead Indian Reservation. Photo via Save Our Sisters MMIW/Facebook.


The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement, or #MMIW, spans across the U.S. and Canada, where indigenous women face disproportionate levels of violence. According to the CDC, in the U.S., indigenous women and black women are nearly tied for the demographic with the highest murder rate. Homicide is the third leading cause of death for indigenous women ages 10 to 24.

In Canada in 2015, a quarter of all women murdered were indigenous — a sharp increase from 9% in 1980, which was still disproportionately high.

One last photo from the display yesterday #MMIW #saveoursistersmmiw

A post shared by Marita GrowingThunder Fogarty (@maritagrowingthunder) on

GrowingThunder, who is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux tribe, had two aunts who were murdered. “I haven’t met a family who this hasn’t impacted,” she told Montana Public Radio.

What GrowingThunder is saying echoes what I've heard from my Native American friends and acquaintances. But many Americans remain unaware that this crisis even exists. We tend to place our country’s terrible treatment of Native Americans in the distant past, despite ongoing injustices and struggles caused by colonization.

Marita GrowingThunder is only 19, but she has been using her body, her voice, and her creativity to support the MMIW movement since long before spring break.

In fall 2016, GrowingThunder undertook a project to create and wear a different dress each day of her senior year of high school to honor native women who have been lost or killed.

Just a handful of the 180 dresses Marita GrowingThunder made and wore during her senior year. One dress per day — each honoring a missing or murdered indigenous woman. Photos via Save Our Sisters MMIW/Facebook.

People across the Native American community donated supplies for her sewing project in the name of specific women and families affected by the crisis. GrowingThunder dedicated each dress, about 180 in all, to a different specific missing or murdered indigenous woman.

GrowingThunder is a soft-spoken but self-assured young woman who believes young people can make a difference. "The youth have a lot of power," she says. "Not just politically, but just for humanity in general. I didn't realize I had this much power... I think people underestimate their own power."

You can hear her speak about her activism in this video:

GrowingThunder completed the 80-mile walk in 2017 as well, and both times she received a mixed response from American locals. She has been spit on, yelled at, and flipped off by people driving by. But others have offered water and kind words of encouragement.

The purpose of the walks is to honor and remember the countless women affected by this violence. But GrowingThunder also wants to draw attention to the fact that there is no database to track how many indigenous women are missing or who have been killed. Because there's no central data, statistics are sketchy and no one actually knows the exact extent of the issue. The Government Accountability Office has stated that investigations are needed to better report on trafficking within Native American populations.

Information is key. So is awareness, followed by action.

Photo via Save Our Sisters MMIW/Facebook.

Feel inspired to help? Here’s how all of us can support the MMIW movement.

This issue is multifaceted, but there are a lot of real ways to help.

Encourage your legislators to support Savannah’s Act. This bill bolsters the data tracking of missing and murdered Native Americans, standardizes law enforcement and justice protocols, and requires the Department of Justice to provide training and technical assistance to tribes and law enforcement to implement new protocols.

Support the Red Ribbon Alert project. Since there’s no database tracking missing and murdered indigenous women, this project offers an alert system for when a Native American woman goes missing. Like their Facebook page and share missing women alerts from your area.

Images via Red Ribbon Alert Project/Facebook.

Get to know the tribes near you. Start by learning about them, and follow the social media accounts of local tribes to find out about what's happening in their communities. Attend public events and get to know people. (In the interest of cultural sensitivity, you may want to check out articles with advice from Native American people before you go.)

Learn about domestic violence and support organizations that support victims. As with other female demographics, murder stats of Native American women are strongly connected with domestic violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline launched the StrongHearts Native Helpline specifically for indigenous populations, and they offer helpful information about supporting all domestic violence victims. You can donate to the hotline here.

Understand how the oil, gas, and other extraction industries affect human trafficking in Native American communities. Joye Braun, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Indigenous Environmental Network, explains that the "man camps" set up to build pipelines, such as Keystone XL, threaten the communities, women, and children.

"Apart from the huge environmental crisis this pipeline would bring," Braun says, "it would threaten the very lives of our people with sex trafficking, drugs, violence, and death." We can learn more about these issues, offer our own voices in protest, and advocate for alternative energy sources.

Members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance marched on horseback to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

It's no secret that Native Americans have suffered at the hands of white supremacy and colonization through all of our country's history. But by amplifying voices like Marita GrowingThunder's, we can take inspiration from her story and her walk. And we can honor her 80-mile sacrifice by doing our part.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less