Yakama families remember missing, murdered loved ones

Families gathered to commemorate National Day of Awareness for MMIW

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Families gathered Wednesday to commemorate National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at Pioneer Park in Toppenish, on the Yakama reservation.

Guest speaker and MMIW activist Cissy Reyes spoke about her sister, who disappeared in October 2018 and was found dead the following Fourth of July.

RELATED: Body found in freezer near Toppenish belongs to Rosenda Strong

“My sister, Rosenda Strong, was a loving caring mother of four; today, she would have been a grandmother,” Reyes said. “She always smiled. Even if she was having a bad day, she’d still make sure your day was great.”

In the years since her sister was killed, Reyes has spoken out on her behalf, held numerous events and worked diligently to spread awareness of the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people. No arrests have been made in Strong’s case and the FBI investigation continues.

RELATED: Rosenda Strong’s family hopes for justice in 2021

“That’s why I’m here today;  I will continue to be here until my sister gets justice,” Reyes said.

Strong is among the dozens of women and men who have gone missing, died mysteriously or been murdered on and near the Yakama reservation. Many of the families have yet to find answers in the disappearance of their loved ones.

Reyes said the best way people can help is to learn more about the MMIW crisis, share information about those who have been lost and speak up if they have any information that could help to find them.

“This movement is about finding the ones that are lost and missing,” Reyes said. “Share the story if you’re on social media, say their names and support the community events when they are happening.”

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