The disappearance of Long Islander Gabby Petito has become a viral obsession for legions of amateur sleuths. Ms Petito, a pretty blonde girl who was documenting a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, was reported missing by her parents. Human remains 'consistent with her description' were found in Wyoming. The online explosion of amateur detectives has raised the issue of missing white woman syndrome- this pretty, social media savvy white woman disappeared in a region in which 710 indigenous women went missing between 2011 and 2020.
The rates of violence, and sexual violence, against Native American women is horrific. This statistic is particularly chilling: On some reservations, indigenous women are murdered at more than ten times the national average. The epidemic of missing Native American women, 5,712 as of 2016, should be a recurring national headline, though it receives less attention that the disappearance of a single blonde lady from an upper middle class background. Hopefully, the current obsession with Gabby Petito's disappearance will inspire those who have been trying to crack the case to take on the cases of missing indigenous women. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet member in US history, has a plan to address this crisis. I don't know if she has considered harnessing the power of the Tik-Tok teens, but once activated, these online communities can be a powerful force for good.
I have to confess that I haven't covered the issue enough... poking through the archives, I found a mention in 2019, but I have to note that I was a bit distracted throughout 2020. It's so far from my pretty well-ordered Northeastern life, but it is a horror story that I read up on fairly regularly. I have a sinking feeling, though, that every post I could make on the subject would be 'more of the same', inaction without having 'notable' (conventionally attractive while) victims. I sincerely hope that a top-to-bottom approach, from the online teens to the Secretary of the Interior, will prove me wrong.