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Advocates celebrate Indigenous Women’s Day at Roundhouse

Carys Herrera, from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, performs a hoop dance during Indigenous Women’s Day, in the Rotunda.
Jeanette DeDios
Carys Herrera, from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, performs a hoop dance during Indigenous Women’s Day, in the Rotunda.

Lawmakers and advocates came together over the weekend to celebrate Indigenous Women’s Day at the Roundhouse.

A crowd, including Indigenous women dressed in ribbon skirts, gathered in the Roundhouse rotunda. Traditional hoop dances opened and closed the celebration, which included a prayer walk, a moment of silence for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives (MMIWR) and the proclamation of Indigenous Women’s Day.

Reyes Devore from Jemez Pueblo, Program Director for Pueblo Action Alliance Program, spoke of the day’s significance.

“As Indigenous women, mothers, matriarchs, fems, them’s, you know, we are often dismissed in our advocacy or we are not uplifted in the ways that we should be,” she said.

Devore said Native women are the backbones of their communities as caretakers and storytellers and urged them to advocate for themselves.

“Stand in your power, stand in your truth, fight any type of imposter syndrome that might come your way.”

Sen. Shannon Pinto (D-Tohatchi), a member of the Navajo Nation, pushed for Indigenous Women’s Day to be celebrated even though this year’s session is shorter than others.

“I think it's important, especially for our young women or young girls.”

Pinto is sponsoring a memorial that would establish a new MMIWR Task Force.

Last year, the office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham dissolved a previous task force. In response to push back, the governor announced in December an MMIWR Advisory Council but tribal and community members criticized it for lacking credibility.

Pinto says she hopes a new task force could create some needed stability.

“And make sure that the issue is not going to be dissolved away.”

If passed, the state Department of Justice would oversee the new task force and lay out its framework.

The memorial passed the Senate Indian, Rural and Cultural Affairs committee and will now head to the Senate Floor.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s a former Local News Fund Fellow. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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