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Gallery: Spring Market takes over Depot Market Square

A couple dozen people gathered at Maritime Heritage Park on Saturday to rally in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“To say this is a crisis is an understatement,” said Xyanthe Neider, a Whatcom Community College professor. “This is a pandemic, and we must see this as the long arc of Indigenous genocide.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the murder rate for Indigenous women is 10 times higher than the national average and is the sixth-leading cause of death.

Speakers and performers at the rally included members of the Lummi Nation, Bellingham City Council member Kristina Michele Martens and students from Whatcom Intergenerational High School, which organized the rally.

Martens urged the crowd to contact their representatives in support of House Bill 1177, which would establish a cold case unit for missing and murdered indigenous women within the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

Martens said if the bill passes, expanded resources will be available to law enforcement. coroners and other agencies to better pursue these cases.

“Now is the time to get more involved, now is the time to speak up louder and now is the time to put everything you have left into efforts of making sure we get justice and equity,” Martens said.