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Butterfly House hosts MMIP awareness fundraiser

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Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 23, 2024

Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (link) has been a longstanding issue in Montana and across the country. This is why Indigenous non-profit Ohkomi Forensics has been helping families impacted by this issue with the searches of their loved ones.

The non-profit’s founder Haley Omeasoo, with the help of other indigenous groups, put together a fundraiser to raise awareness for MMIP. The event was held at the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium.

“As indigenous people too here, we’re all impacted by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People crisis in some way,” Omeasoo said.

“Just bringing everyone together to help be there for each other, heal each other, support each other as well as our non-native allies who have really been helpful and supportive in helping us to combat this crisis.”

The fundraiser featured food, a silent auction, and other activities for people to enjoy.

The organizers also invited three families who have been affected by the MMIP crisis to share their stories with the people who came.

The families of Jermain Charlo, Kaysera Stops Pretty Places, and Mika Westwolf were at the event.

Valenda Morigeau, the aunt of Jermain Charlo - who has been missing since 2018 - says this event helped families share the human side of their stories.

“It’s really good for them to meet families that are actually impacted by the lack of the justice system of prosecuting people for murdering our women,” Morigeau said.

“And the lack of urgency when somebody goes missing hearing the stories from the family and actually talking to them makes it more real and shows that they are people they need to be found and they deserve justice.”

The next MMIP event will be held at the UM Oval for its national awareness day on May 5.