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Gabby Petito died in the same place 700 Native women went missing. Why aren't we looking for them?

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The tragic case of travel blogger Gabrielle (Gabby) Petito has shed light on a number of issues. As her disappearance and presumed death drew massive media attention, advocates noticed the difference when it came to missing women of color. Daily Kos writer Laura Clawson accurately described the situation as a “classic case of Missing White Woman Syndrome.” According to NBC News, “missing white woman syndrome” has led to more tough-on-crime policies that disproportionately affect communities of color.

Many advocates and lawmakers highlighted this case as a reminder of the hundreds of Native American women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered in the U.S. and the resulting lack of media attention. Calls for justice have risen as advocates share that in the state of Wyoming, where Petito disappeared, more than 710 Indigenous people went missing between 2011 and 2020. Of those, 57% are female and 85% are children, data from the state’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force found.

Additionally, the data found that while more than 20% of Indigenous people remain missing for 30 days or longer, only 11% of white people remain missing for the same time period. Another disparity was present in terms of media coverage: While 30% of Indigenous homicide victims made the news, more than 50% of white victims did.

“We’ve seen the stories, talked with families that are sad and hurt that this is the way that their loved one was portrayed,” said Emily Grant, a senior research scientist at Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center, who led research on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force report. “But it was heartbreaking, to see the numbers and then to compare it to the stories about white victims, or white missing people and see the discrepancy.”

According to The Guardian, stories of Indigenous people that make the news are often graphic and more likely include violent language........

© Daily Kos

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