The Research on Violent Victimization (ROVV) Lab at Arizona State University. Members include (L-R): Leo Mukosi, Katonya Begay, Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya, Dr. Kate Fox, Cassie Harvey, Kayleigh Stanek, and Christopher Sharp. (Photo courtesy of ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice)

Recognizing ASU students’ experiences with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples

By: Cassie L. Harvey (Diné and Zuni Tribes) | Kayleigh Stanek | Kathleen A. Fox | Katonya Begay (Diné Tribe)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) is the disappearance and/or murder of Indigenous people. Families, friends and advocates created international MMIP movements, which started by focusing on the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). In 2019, Arizona became the third state to address MMIWG by passing legislation known as HB2570 that created a state-wide study. Arizona State University’s Research on Violent Victimization (ROVV) Lab led this study in partnership with ASU’s Office of American Indian Projects (OAIP) and the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI). In addition, the ROVV lab collaborated with Indigenous ASU scholars, students and community members who serve Indigenous populations.

The ASU MMIWG study found that MMIWG has been increasing over the past 40 years and that Arizona Indigenous women between the ages of 18 and 40 were recorded at the highest risk of being murdered or missing (Fox et al., 2020).

This stark finding prompted an investigation focusing on this college-age population to learn about the impact that MMIP has on Indigenous college students and Tribal communities in both urban and rural settings. Unfortunately, little is known about how MMIP affects Indigenous peoples, especially college students. That is why ASU’s ROVV Lab devoted efforts to understanding how MMIP impacts Indigenous people, including college students.

The shift in focus from MMIWG to MMIP mirrors the legislative change to be more inclusive to all Indigenous peoples, including men, women and the two-spirit LGBTQ community.

The ROVV Lab continues to lead MMIP efforts in Arizona by gathering knowledge to create solutions to promote safety and well-being for Indigenous communities. The ROVV Lab is currently inviting ASU Indigenous students to participate in a survey to share their lived experiences with MMIP, victimization, ASU student services, and their perspectives on resilience. This study aims to inform ASU about what is working well for our Indigenous students and what needs to change to better serve our Indigenous students. At the end of the survey, students are invited to participate in a one-on-one interview about MMIP. All Indigenous ASU students are encouraged to share their stories, via the survey and the optional interview, until November 31, 2022, when the study ends.

There are many ways to become involved with the MMIP efforts.

First, Indigenous ASU students can participate in the MMIP survey by clicking this link.

Second, the ROVV Lab also invites Indigenous ASU affiliates to contribute digital art on the topic of MMIP to bring awareness and showcase students’ art. Digital MMIP artwork is accepted until November 22, 2022 and can be submitted here.

Third, the ROVV Lab has several opportunities for students to gain skills in data analysis, research dissemination, web design, communications outreach, and more! Please reach out to Dr. Kate Fox at katefox@asu.edu if you are interested in getting involved.

Fourth, Indigenous students and allies are welcome to attend the upcoming MMIP legislative committee meetings where the public can share their MMIP experiences with the study committee. The next public hearing is scheduled Friday, November 18, 2022 at the Salt River Council Chambers from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Finally, May 5 marks the annual national and International Day of Recognition of MMIWG/MMIP. Each year, community members, grassroots experts, legislators, Tribal leaders, and families experiencing MMIP gather at the Arizona State Capitol building. Participants learn about MMIP, engage in policy discussions, enjoy cultural activities, march to promote awareness, and honor loved ones as the Capitol building is lit in red — the color signifying MMIP.

If you would like to know more about MMIWG in Arizona, click here to read our report.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @ASU_ROVV

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