First Advisor

Kate Barcalow

Date of Award

Summer 8-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology and University Honors






Indigenous women -- Violence against, Indian women -- Violence against, Missing persons, Murder victims, Indians of North America




In North America, Indigenous women go missing and are murdered at a rate higher than any other demographic. Scholars and governmental agencies agree that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis is a pressing issue; it was not until a series of successful social media campaigns (using the hashtag #MMIW) and other grassroots activism took root across First Nations and Native communities in North America that the gravity of the situation became widely reported. Although many agree that the MMIW crisis is a wicked problem (in that it has many contributing factors that amplify its effect and contribute to its existence), scholars both non-Native and Native, continue to underline that the underpinning contributing factor is the legacy of colonization and its ongoing effects. Unfortunately, due to a lack of clear and concise statistics from governmental agencies, it is challenging to discern how far-reaching this crisis is. Much of the pre-existing literature does not take into account the contemporary issues regarding the jurisdictional gap that exists between Tribal, State, and Federal governmental agencies in the United States and more broadly across North America. This thesis strives to investigate the potential contributing factors and subsequent effects of the MMIW crisis on Native and First Nations communities. Questions posed during the research phase of the project were premised on understanding my participants' prior knowledge of the crisis, how they interpret the epidemic from their unique positionality as Tribal members in specific geographical areas and their perception of the effect that the crisis has had on their community.


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