A new documentary, filmed in Hardin, aims to raise awareness about Missing & Murdered Persons (MMIP) in Montana, many of which remain unsolved.
"Say Her Name" was directed by Rain and hosted by Juliet Hayes, a member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. She calls Big Horn County, which includes parts of two reservations, the epicenter of the MMIW crisis.
“I'm an indigenous woman myself. Before going to Montana to film this documentary, even I didn't know the severity of it,” said Hayes.
The film focuses on the cases of Kaysera Stops Pretty Places, Selena Not Afraid, and Henny Scott, three young Native American women who were reported missing and later found dead. The cause of death for Not Afraid and Scott was determined to be hypothermia, while no cause of death has been determined for Stops Pretty Places.
“My heart just completely broke for all of these families,” said Hayes. “I admire every family member that I talked for the courage and the strength that it took to relive the absolute worst times of their lives. They did it with such grace and they did because they don't want this to happen to anyone else.”
All three of the families questioned what really happened to their daughters and the results of the investigations into their deaths. In all three cases, the women were found just a short distance from where they were last seen alive.
Hayes believes there would have been more urgency with the investigation if the women had been white. “These families, they have to do investigations on their own. They have to go out and find answers. They have to go out and put pieces of the puzzle together on their own and figure out what happened to their daughters—or why are they missing or why have they been murdered,” she said.
Hayes hopes that the 30-minute film will shed light on the MMIW crisis and inspire federal legislation so that more will be done to find those who go missing and get to the root of the problem. “People need to know what's going on because the national media they don't really cover it,” she says. “Why is it that we can be killed so senselessly, and nothing happens? There are no consequences.”