BOZEMAN - Brick Breeden field house will be hosting Montana State University’s No More Stolen Sisters/Relatives basketball games to bring awareness to a growing issue throughout the Native community.
“For the past couple years, we’ve had a No More Stolen Sisters game with the women's basketball team that's a partnership with both our club, MMIPSA, as well as the AIC, American Indian Council,” said MSU women’s basketball player Taylor Janssen.
Janssen is the co-president of the MMIP Student Association, and one of the MSU women’s basketball team’s star players. For almost three years she has been a part of the mission to bring awareness to the rapid increase of missing indigenous women throughout the United States.
“We've also recently added a No More Stolen Relatives game, and that’s for the men’s team,” said Janssen.
Both MSU basketball teams have “red” games where teams wear the symbolic color red, celebrate tribal songs, and speak on the missing and murdered indigenous people issue that is present due to many criminal reasons.
“Human trafficking is a bigger part of this, I think, with the jurisdictional problems that happen on reservations. I’ve seen it a lot and my brother used to work in law enforcement and he worked directly with human trafficking on native reservations.
Maleeya Knows His Gun, co-president of the MMIP Student Association, has been involved in the mission of bringing awareness to human trafficking and its effects on the Native community since her part in resuscitating the organization.
“It originally was Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Association but it died out, so I had the idea to partner with Kola from the basketball team and we decided to reform it,” Knows His Gun said.
Indigenous people account for 40 percent of all trafficking in the United States, and this number continues to rise.
MMIP’s rising involvement with events such as “red” games and the spring powwow has sparked awareness and community involvement, more so now than ever.
“I think it’s so important especially for all the Native women out there and all women in general. I think keeping each other safe is a big thing and watching out for our peers, and I think it’s become a natural thing when it shouldn't have to be to always be on guard and watch your surroundings.” Said Knows His Gun.
Thankfully, events such as the No More Stolen Sisters/Relatives games have been working.
“A lot of people came up and were like I’m super interested, and I want to help. How do I help?” Janssen said.
Which is a huge accomplishment for this small organization as they grow and bring awareness to a heavy issue.
Games will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3 for the men and Feb. 10 for the women.
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