Three women from Cherokee are shining a light on an epidemic sweeping the nation — through a new podcast called “We are Resilient: A MMIW True Crime Podcast.”
The podcast focuses on MMIW — Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Its hosts are Maggie Jackson, Sheyahshe Littledave and Ali-sha Stephens.
“We actually did it on Zoom and in Sheyahshe’s office at her house.” Jackson said.
The three are indigenous women themselves, of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribe.
“We try to pick stories that we know don’t have a lot of publicity,” Jackson said.
MMIW is a focus deeply needed in their community.
“The idea came about mainly because we saw there was a national uprising in missing and murdered indigenous cases and there wasn’t a lot being talked about,” Littledave said.
This epidemic really started coming to light during the Gabby Petito investigation, when it came out that more than 700 indigenous women were missing in Wyoming at the same time as Petito’s disappearance.
“Gabby Petito’s case was solved solely on social media,” Jackson said. “So, social media’s power is really great, and if we can use that in a positive way, we can solve one or two of these cases and start bringing these families justice.”
As of 2016, the National Crime Information Center has reported 5,712 missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls.
“These women that are missing and murdered — they don’t have a voice, but we can be their voice,” Littledave said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), murder is the third-leading cause of death for indigenous women.
“Now, as indigenous women that is a terrifying number. That is a terrifying statistic,” Littledave said.
It’s terrifying because those numbers might not be true, as the three women said most states don’t have accurate statistics.
“There really is not only inequity for these cases just to get awareness, but inequity for justice,” Jackson said.
That’s where “We are Resilient” comes in to play.
“Somebody out there knows something and they’re not saying anything,” Stephens said.