Friday, May 24, 2024

MMIP walk/run raises awareness of those who are missing

Reporter | May 9, 2024 12:00 AM

To call attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, Salish Kootenai College, Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Safe Harbor, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes collaborated for a second year on the MMIP Awareness 5K Walk/Run, held May 4 at the Silver Fox Golf Course in Pablo.

Dr. Nichole Mckinsey and colleagues from St. Joseph’s were registering runners. Mckinsey had not been familiar with MMIP when she first heard about it but then realized many patients were dealing with issues of missing friends or family members.

“We had to do something,” she said. The MMIP walk/run helps raise awareness of the problem, educates people, and provides a healthy activity. 

About 150 people gathered for the free event. Any donations go to the CSKT MMIP Victim Services Assistance Fund, Mckinsey said. 

At 10 a.m., Dana Grant from Safe Harbor introduced two people whose family members are still missing. 

Belinda Morigeau, Jermain Charlo’s aunt, spoke briefly, breaking down often, and noted that Jermain has been missing for six years. 

Michael Adams, who introduced himself as a quiet person and the last one to speak publicly, told the crowd that he grew up without a mother. His family lived in Alaska, and his mother disappeared in 1998. 

“It left scars on our family, scars that never go away,” he said. 

Adams brought copies of research on childhood trauma and its effects on children for people to read.

At the close of their comments, Grant said, “Now we walk towards the mountains.” 

Participants, some with strollers, one pushing a friend’s wheelchair, headed towards the Silver Fox Golf Course on a glorious spring morning to walk or run in honor of MMIP.