For decades, American Indian and Alaska Native communities have struggled with high rates of assault, abduction, and murder—a crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP), nationally recognized each May 5th. Community advocates describe the crisis as a legacy of generations of government policies of forced removal, land seizures and violence inflicted on Native peoples. Data from 2018 (CDC) show that:
Due to limited resources and poor data collection, these data are likely undercounted and underreported.
As part of the Mass General Brigham Outreach Program with Native American Communities, our system plays a small part in helping to address these issues both locally and across the country. Hanni Stoklosa, MD, MPH, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is an internationally-recognized expert, advocate, researcher, and speaker on human trafficking and trauma informed care who has volunteered her services with the Outreach Program. She has presented educational talks and trainings with numerous healthcare, law enforcement, and advocacy groups across the country working to address the issue of MMIP.
While she is not an expert on indigenous populations specifically, there are many intersections between the trauma informed approaches used to help trafficked individuals that intersect with MMIP.
If you’re interested in this topic, or would like resources, we recommend:
“These groups are marginalized in so many different ways and it’s really important that those working in healthcare are aware of the issue,” says Dr. Stoklosa. “My work is just one little, small thing that I—a white, female, cisgender physician with power and privilege—can be engaged in. And it feels so meaningful.”