Toppenish event to focus on missing, murdered indigenous people

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Community members from all areas of Yakima County are invited to talk about issues concerning missing and murdered indigenous people and violent crime at the End the Violence, Break the Silence event in Toppenish this weekend.

The event was organized by Roxanne White, who is Nez Perce, Yakama, Nooksack, and Gros Ventre. She’s also the executive director and founder of Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, People & Families.

White said she wants to make sure that people know this is an event about unity, healing and bringing the community closer, regardless of who they are or where they are from.

“Whether we’re unhoused ,whether we’re, you know, Native American, Latinx or Anglo Saxon, like we’re all in this together,” White said. “And so this is about community building. This is about us coming together. One people.”

The gathering will feature an open mic, where community members and MMIWP families can share stories and concerns, as well as a community round dance, swan dancers, enough food for 150 people and informational booths featuring community services.

The event is free, open to the public and will be from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Pioneer Park, South Elm Street and State Route 22 in Toppenish.

“Our event is an emergent need to assist families and address the high increased rates of violence within the Yakama Nation community. Each of feel the heartache in our community,” organizers said in the event description. “We hope you will attend and support us as we center the voices of our people and communities.”

Mother Nation, Campbell Farm, VRP Yakama Nation, Justice For Rosenda Strong and The Yarrow Project collaborated with Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, People & Families on this event.