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This past May, Rosalie Fish (Cowlitz) from the Muckleshoot Tribal School in Washington won three state titles in track at the 2019 WIAA State Track and Field event hosted at Eastern Washington University—all while raising awareness and advocating for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Her powerful statement was amplified by indigenous photographer Alex Frett (Spokane)—a red painted handprint covering her mouth and the letters MMIW painted down her right leg —who captured in the striking photo below.
Fish dedicated each race to an indigenous woman who has gone missing or been murdered, providing information about them on a poster where she hung her medals. She dedicated her 1600 to Alice Looney (Yakama), 800 to Jacqueline Salyers (Puyallup), 3200 to Renee Davis (Muckleshoot), and 400 to Misty Upham (Blackfeet). More details on her poster can be found on her Instagram here.
Rosalie stands next to the informational poster she brought to the 2019 WIAA State Track and Field event.
Rosalie was also featured in ESPN's Outside the Lines, where she says "running for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women wasn't a political statement, it was just my humanity." You can find the video on Twitter here.
You can click on the image above to watch Rosalie's "Running for a Cause" feature on ESPN.
Rosalie is a long time friend of Eighth Generation and served as a model for Eighth Generation's "Mockups" (seen here below), which was a shoe design toy created by Eighth Generation to inspire youth to apply artwork on shoes, much like Founder Louie Gong did when he first began applying cultural artwork on shoes.
According to a report published by the Urban Indian Health Institute, 506 cases of Missing & Murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls were identified across 71 cities. There were 45 cases reported in Seattle alone - where Eighth Generation is headquartered - the highest of any city reported. Additionally, the report highlights that Native women experience violence at alarming levels compared to other demographics. Native women on some reservations are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average, and 5,712 cases have been reported in 2016, but there is no definitive data on how many Native women have gone missing since then. Native women are also assaulted at higher rates than any other racial or ethnic minority.
More information on the report and it's findings are detailed in this Seattle Times article.
Image from the Urban Indian Health Institute.
From all of us at Eighth Generation, thank you, Rosalie, for helping bring awareness to the alarming growing number of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women across the United States and Canada.