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Meskwaki Tribe Members To Raise Awareness For Missing Woman

For Native American advocates, this Saturday is a national day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women. Members of the Meskwaki tribe are organizing a walk to remember an Iowa woman who disappeared in 2015.

Members of the Meskwaki tribe in Iowa's Tama County are organizing a march this weekend to remember Rita Papakee, who has been missing for more than three years.

Family members hope the event will encourage anyone with information to come forward. Tatum Kapayou said the loss of her sister made her aware of other cases across the country. 

“I didn’t think this was a big problem until it happened to our family, to my sister,” Kapayou said. “I could not believe how…how many women are missing."

She said she feels the disappearances aren’t getting the attention they deserve.

"And no one’s doing anything about it," Kapayou said.

2017 numbers from the National Crime Information Center show 10,642 Native Americans are listed as missing. But advocates say due to barriers between tribal and federal agencies, and resistance to reporting, the numbercould be much higher.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter