The Roundup -

The *Sing Our Rivers Red* Exhibit Brings Awareness To Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Human Trafficking


*Sing Our Rivers Red* is currently on display at the MonDak Heritage Center; all of the earrings that make up the artwork belonged to a victim, or were donated by victims' families.

The Sing Our Rivers Red exhibit is on display at the MonDak Heritage Center. Made up of earrings of murdered and missing indigenous women, it serves as a beautiful and heartbreaking reminder of the violence and exploitation that occurs each and every year against these women and girls. Each earring belonged to one of the victims or was made by their families.

Since 1980, more than 1,181 native women and girls have been reported missing or murdered in Canada. Many were taken along the Highway of Tears, a 450-mile long stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia which has heavy truck traffic. With Richland County being so close to the Canadian border and surrounding reservations, it is important to spread awareness about the realities of human trafficking in our area.

"The first time I saw it, I got goosebumps," said Paula Eberling, victim/witness advocate with the 7th Judicial Victim Witness Program.

The 7th Judicial Victim Witness Program supports victims throughout the judicial process, and together with the Red Bird Women's Center, which serves Fort Peck, Wolf Point, and Poplar, MT, the exhibit was brought to Sidney.

"Human trafficking is rising, so it makes sense for us to partner together," Eberling commented.

Sing Our Rivers Red has been on display in Missoula and Fort Peck, MT, New Town, ND, Denver, CO, and Albuquerque, NM. Many of the victims' families have included letters about their lost loved ones, which are also on display as part of the exhibit.

Indicators of human trafficking include individuals who are accompanied by someone who is controlling, speaks for them, and/or holds all their personal information, such as ID. Individuals may seem fearful, avoid eye contact, seem confused or unable to identify their location. They may have injuries they are reluctant to discuss or be inappropriately dressed for their work or situation. Their sleeping quarters may be unsuitable and/or shared and there may be unnecessary security in or around their home, such as barricaded windows, doors they cannot unlock, barbed wire, or security cameras. If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please contact local law enforcement.

"It puts it into prospective when you look at each of the earrings that represents an individual. They did exist," Eberling said. "I feel honored that we are able to show this. The display identifies those that were lost. It represents loved ones."

The MonDak Heritage Center is open Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays; it's located at 120 3rd Ave SE in Sidney. Sing Our Rivers Red will be on display until mid-September.


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