LAME DEER – Hanna Harris was killed on July 4, 2013 and since then, her family has been working to bring awareness to the issue of missing and murdered Native American women around the country.
This week, the Senate passed a resolution marking May 5 as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.
The day is in honor of Hanna, on what would have been her 25th birthday, and the hundreds of other missing or murdered Native women around the country.
“This is a very big day for the family because it turned into a national day of awareness so we are very proud,” said Malinda Harris, Hanna’s mother.
Senator Steve Daines marched with the family on Friday, presenting them with copies of the resolution that was first introduced by all three members of the Montana Congressional Delegation (Sen. Daines, Sen. Tester, Rep. Zinke).
“For too long, the stories of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women have gone unheard,” said Sen. Steve Daines, who was instrumental in passing the resolution.
“In fact, the Department of Justice has given us facts, American Indian women face murder rates 10 times greater than the national average,” he said.
Friday was the seventh walk Hanna’s family has participated in to bring awareness, but it isn’t just for her.
The walk also serves as a reminder of the many other names and faces missing from the crowd, all with their own grieving families.
“Native Americans, we lose people left and right all day every day,” said Rose Harris, Hanna’s sister.
“For us, it’s just pretty much going to bring a lot of hope to not just us but other families. I honestly think that she’s looking down and she’s smiling at everybody and she’s just reaching out to other families so for me it’s just like her being here,” she said.