© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Third year of Wind River MMIP march sees more families looking for answers

Vernita Shakespeare and family is looking for any information about her son's death in 2020 around Ethete.
Taylar Stagner

An annual March in honor of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) took place on the Wind River Reservation. On Saturday, May 7, marchers walked from 789 gas station to Riverton City Park where several speakers addressed the crowd.

Vernita Shakespeare who lost her son Tony Harris in 2020 addressed the crowd and said she is now joining the growing MMIP movement to help herself and others heal.

“He had plans, he was supposed to go into Sundance. His birthday is coming up on May 16. And it's really hard because I’m constantly looking and waiting for him to come back,” she said.

Other speakers included Nicole Wagon, who became more involved with the MMIP movement after losing two daughters also in 2020

Most recently, Northern Arapaho tribal member Shawna Jo Bell passed away last month, and the circumstances are still in question. Her family is worried that her case, like so many others, will go nowhere.

Eastern Shoshone Business Council member Mike Ute said that the law and order code on the Wind River is 20 years old and that contributes to the slow judiciary system on the reservation.

“There haven't been any revisions, it takes both tribes to agree on any revisions. And each tribe has separate processes to at least try to make a change. But it also takes both tribes to agree on any changes that are proposed,” he said. “So this is where a lot of it stalls, because there's a lot of back and forth between the tribes and then it just dies.”

On Thursday, May 5, there was a virtualwalk for those wanting to participate but were uncomfortable being in crowds because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
Related Content