Standing for Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People | smbmi

Standing for Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians hosts 2nd annual 5K to raise awareness of a violent epidemic plaguing Native American communities

April 30, 2024 • 4 min read
MMIP Awareness

HIGHLAND, Calif. (April 28, 2024) – On April 28, members of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Youth Advocacy Group hosted the Second Annual 5K walk at California State University, San Bernardino to raise funds and awareness for an epidemic of violence that has been plaguing Indigenous people and communities for years.

The event was held ahead of May, which is recognized as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Month in California.

Around 200 participants attended the event and walked to support and learn more about ongoing exploitation and harm against Indigenous people and Native American communities. Proceeds from the event will go to Ohkomi Forensics, a Native American-led nonprofit that offers crucial services such as field and excavation, forensic anthropology, DNA testing, and advocacy.

Since 2019, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Youth Advocacy Group has been actively speaking out for survivors and victims through public awareness campaigns, legislative advocacy, and fundraising events.

Raven Casas, a San Manuel Youth Advocate said, "Indigenous people matter. No longer will our loved ones go missing or be harmed without justice. Together, with Native-led organizations, legislators, tribal leaders, and law enforcement, we will honor our people, our sisters and brothers, who have been ignored."

The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People has its roots in the disparity of public safety standards and comprehensive crime reporting, investigations, and prosecutions between tribal, state and federal agencies, available to protect the most vulnerable. Predators use the gaps in comprehensive jurisdictional coverage to exploit individuals living on and off reservations across the nation and perpetrate crimes which often go unreported, unsolved, and unpunished.

Sadly, a report by the Sovereign Bodies Institute, in collaboration with San Manuel, revealed that 63% of Indigenous people in California have experienced domestic or intimate partner violence. Additionally, the Urban Indian Health Institute discovered that only 153 out of 506 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were recorded in law enforcement records.

Despite being a largely unknown issue outside of Indigenous communities for a long time, public awareness is steadily growing. Notably, incremental progress is being made with passage of the Feather Alert Bill, which provides access to the California Highway Patrol's state alert system to notify the public of Native American individuals who go missing, and through the efforts of community-based groups such as the San Manuel Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Youth Advocacy Group.

To learn more about this cause, visit  

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About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians  

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California. San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services, and promoting social, economic and cultural development.  As the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region. For more information, visit


Community Philanthropy Press Release

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