Vigil in Salt Lake City calls for justice on behalf of indigenous women

SALT LAKE CITY — A group gathered in Salt Lake City Wednesday night to spread awareness for indigenous women who are murdered or missing.

They said they’re trying to shed light on violence against a population that doesn’t get a voice—and bring change in the system to give them justice.

At the Vigil for Justice, candles flickered as Carol Surveyor walked around, thanking those who attended.

She’s grieving the loss of her mother Marena Holiday, who Surveyor said was killed in a brutal attack on the Navajo Reservation in Utah in November 2015, just a few days after Thanksgiving.

“She tried to fight her attacker,” Surveyor said. “It was a bullet that silenced her.”

Last week, Surveyor said the man who killed her mother was sent to prison for 21.7 years. She said she was hoping the judge would sentence him to 30.

The situation sparked Surveyor to take action. She said she moved to Utah, eventually decided to run for Congress, and hopes to make change.

“There has been no documentation, no count of the missing and murdered indigenous women here in the States,” she said.

Others, including Matt Romrell from Utah Against Police Brutality, attended Wednesday’s vigil, to join Surveyor in her fight.

“It’s a known fact that Native women and indigenous peoples are victims of crime in disproportionate amounts,” Romrell said.

The crowd lit candles, took a moment of silence, prayed and watched a traditional Native American dance.

They heard from a number of speakers including Moroni Benally from the Utah League of Native American Voters, and a woman who was a victim of domestic violence.

“It`s important that we do have those conversations,” Romrell said.

Surveyor said for her, it’s about remembering indigenous women, and giving them a voice.

“To have them be heard,” she said. “Just like my mother.”

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