Last legislative session, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota followed the leadership of Native legislators, organizations, and community organizers in support of the bill house file 111— to create a task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The bill passed and established the task force to examine the causes of violence, strategies to prevent and decrease the damage caused, and methods to collect data in this area. Over the next two years, tribal and community leaders from across the state will meet to study the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and create a plan of action. Brook LaFloe, WFMN’s Reatha Clark King Fellow and Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota Program Manager, was selected to serve on the task force.

We are grateful for Brook’s leadership as a representative of the Women’s Foundation who simultaneously walks in her purpose as an Indigenous leader committed to creating conditions for Native women and families to thrive. We plan to integrate her participation and learnings into our Young Women’s Initiative and other community impact strategies.

Brook shared her reflections from the first task force meeting:

On September 19, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s (MMIW) Task Force held a signing ceremony and began our work. The Walz and Flanagan Administration was fully present among many other Indigenous community leaders. I am honored to be a part of this work as the Reatha Clark King Fellow as I believe Minnesota is in a historical time for Indigenous women. To see this issue as a priority for the state restores value into the communities that have been long invisible since colonization.

At our first meeting, the task force voted on co-chairs, set our working agreements, and assigned roles. I’ll be part of the Community Impact working committee, looking at the impacts on individuals, families, and communities.

I made a ribbon kimono to wear to the ceremony and meeting, along with my mother’s earrings and my father’s medallion. As we already know from the Young Women’s Initiative, young women show up with their families and communities behind them.

I am grateful for this opportunity to represent the Women’s Foundation. Thank you and CHI-MIIGWECH!

By Brook LaFloe, Reatha Clark King Fellow | Young Women’s Initiative Program Manager

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