Durant event focused on missing and murdered tribal members
DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) — The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma says nearly 23,000 people have been reported missing from tribal lands.
"To even just stop one person from missing is definitely why I'm here," said Karrisa Hodge with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Chahta.
Out of those 23,000, 700 people have been reported missing from Oklahoma.
"The most important to bring awareness to this is to remember the families that are left behind; to be there to support them, to help them further searching, or to get justice," Hodge said.
Not all those who are missing have been reported.
"There's a lot of ones that aren't included, so the number of that could potentially be higher," said M.K. Wilhice, another member of the organizing group.
On Friday, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Chahta hosted an event to honor the people and families who have been impacted.
"I was in domestic violence situations in my life, and there are things that lead to that from there," Hodge said. "I was thankful to get out of my situation, but there's lots of people that are not, and that's why I do this work."
At Friday's event, families were given a chance to share their personal stories.
"Most stories are shared through families or on social media," Wilhice said. "To have a group of people collectively here to listen and give them that space, that is the goal."
They read the names of those missing and murdered to make sure they're never forgotten.
"We still think about them; we're still fighting for them; we're still here to support their families," Hodge said.
There will be a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 5K Run on May 13 in Antlers.