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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    UNY CONAM advocates and educates about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

    July 13, 2021 / By UNY CONAM

    The Upper New York (UNY) Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) seeks to advocate for ministry with and by Native Americans and educate all regarding the rich and diverse culture, history, and traditions of Native Americans.

    There are three Native American United Methodist churches in the Upper New York Annual Conference:

    • Four Corners United Methodist Church, located on the Cattaraugus Territory
    • Hogansburg United Methodist church located on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation at Akwesasnee
    • Onondaga Nation United Methodist Church located on the Onondaga Nation Indian Territory

    This quadrennium, CONAM of UNY as well as the Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee are working on the advocacy and education about the state of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) and the lack of solving these many missing persons cases.

    The continuing reports of abductions and murders of Native women and girls represent one of the most horrific aspects of the spectrum of violence committed against Native women. The murder rate of Native women is more than 10 times the national average on some reservations and homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native women and girls and 10-24 years of age. Often, these disappearances or murders are connected to crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sex trafficking. Unfortunately, many of these cases go unsolved and unfiled due to complex legal and jurisdictional rules. At this time only 116 of the 5,712 cases of murdered or missing Native women have been logged into the Department of Justice’s nationwide database.

    In 2017, the Montana Congressional Delegation led the way for passage of a Senate resolution declaring May 5 as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. May 5th was the birthday of Hanna Harris, a 21-year-old member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe who went missing on July 4, 2013. Each year since 2017, the national movement to end violence against Native women has organized activities in support of the May 5th National Day of Awareness.

    This National Day of Awareness also highlights the need for ongoing grassroots advocacy and changes to the laws, policies, and increased allocation of resources to end these injustices. Individual and/or joint actions at the local, tribal, state, national, and international levels are needed this year. The issues surrounding missing and murdered Native women must be brought into the public's awareness to increase the accountability of the justice systems. In uncertain times such as these, where people are forced to work from home or lose their jobs altogether, it can put people in abusive relationships at further risk.

    You can take action by visiting The Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee(https://www.nejnamc.org) website to find petitions to sign and to further educate yourself on this important issue.


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."