CWU News

CWU Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Lecture, Memorial to be Held Jan. 29

It’s not known how many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) cases remain unsolved within the Yakama Nation or across the country. Central Washington University will focus attention on the countless MMIW during a presentation and memorial on January 29.

CWU Department of Law and Justice will host a 10 a.m. presentation in the Student Union and Recreation Center Theatre, followed by a 2 p.m. memorial in Dean Hall, in the Museum of Culture and Environment.

The presentation will focus on this complex issue, which is now under discussion in Olympia.

“It’s an epidemic,” said Goldendale Republican State Representative Gina Mosbrucker. "We’re] trying to figure out why these large amounts are missing…what happens when some family members are reported missing is not the same depending on who you talk to, so we’re trying to unify that.”

Rep. Gina MosbruckerRep. Mosbrucker introduced a bill, passed last year, requiring the Washington State Patrol to collaborated with the Office of Indian Affairs, tribal leaders, and other law enforcement agencies to determine the extent of the problem in Washington State. Last Friday, she introduced companion legislation requiring a report of the findings to be presented this legislation session. Mosbrucker said not enough was being done to remedy a situation she termed haunting.

Emily Washines, a member of the Yakama Nation says the issue is further complicated due to a history of mistrust.

“In this entire history, we have had the U.S. government fail to acknowledge our women being hurt,” Washines said. “If you come and tell us ‘we’re going to fix this’ but you’re ignoring those historical issues, there’s going to be a big mistrust there and we don’t have a guarantee that this pattern is going to stop.” 

Mosbrucker’s legislation requires a tribal law enforcement liaison to be established to coordinate state law enforcements with the FBI. Attend the presentation to learn if this is a step in the right direction.

Washines, Yakama Nation Tribal Councilwoman Lottie Sam, Rep. Mosbrucker, and Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell will be among those participating in the presentation.

At 2:00 p.m., the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Memorial Service will be held in the CWU Museum of Culture and Environment located in Dean Hall. Representatives of MMIW USA, which helps create awareness regarding missing and murdered Native women, will assist with the memorial.

Emily WashinesMember of some Yakama Nation families who have had loved ones killed or turn up missing will attend the memorial, as will Washines, who researches and speaks on the historical aspects of the worldwide issue. She said the memorial service will include an art installation at the museum.

“It’ll have feathers that will hang on dowels—50 feathers representing 50 states,” Washines explained. “Because we don’t know the numbers of women that are missing or murdered—we are still in the collection phase, the feathers will represent that unknow. And in that way, it will represent not just an event but a movement.”

For more information about this event or to learn more about CWU Department of Law and Justice, contact Paul Knepper, law and justice chair at or

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,