Image Credits: Aaron Paquette

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in the United States

Violence is the third leading cause of death for native women between 10 and 24 years of age and the fifth leading cause of death for women 25 to 34 years (Simpson 5). Today American Indian women face murder 10 times the national average according to the Department of Justice. The government has failed to address the violence against Native women despite staggering statistics that provide evidence for the high rates of violence perpetrated against this marginalized group (Simpson 5). In 2015, the federal government approved an act that would provide additional resources to improve tribes’ access to databases that had data of MMIW but have not followed through. In response to the lack of a database that includes all the MMIW, I have created a web map that will visualize the Indigenous women that have been reported missing and murdered. The ultimate goal is to try to understand what is unique about the situation that causes Native American women to experience higher rates of violence. In the future I hope to be able to provide statistical analysis for my theory about the relation between map camps and missing women.


The lack of a public database that details where women went missing led to the need for data-mining on social media and news reports. I searched pages on Facebook such as ‘Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA’ and ‘Lost and Missing in Indian Country’. Although allowed access to the LMIC database there was still the issue of geocoding to a closer proximity of where the victims went missing, using the lost and found fliers I created a seperate database using the information provided.

This map includes both male and female victims that have been reported missing.
Disclaimer: I have not completed documenting what is known to be over 2,500 Indigenous women currently missing, maybe more unaccounted for.

In order to give each women an identity rather than only a point I used image addresses and made a url column then inserting them as part of the pop-up using: <li><img src=”{{url}}” width=60px></i>

The map shows points that visualize murdered and missing indigenous women in the United States, hover over and click on each point for more information regarding the victims. Indian territory represented in blue.
These maps provide few points, but each point is a life that is no longer accounted for. The hot spot map is meant to show the areas affected by the issue but a lack of points makes it difficult for there to be any significance. Indian territory represented in purple.

Behind data mining was reading each story for the individuals that went missing in order to ensure I was not documenting false missing reports. The case of Savanna Greywind brought the issue to national light for a second when she was killed and her unborn baby was removed from her. Then there is Edith Chavez who was arrested after being kidnapped, raped, and left to die. She was arrested when she tried to go to the police for an overdue parking ticket. For most Native Women that go missing the reality is that of Edith Chavez, their family will try to have them listed as missing but the police will do nothing. The lack of data from counties is known to be due to the lack of reports filed by police departments and other agencies responsible. That and a lack of interagency communication leads to the most affected group in the Unites States being invisible.

While creating the maps I was told to worry about creating this database first before trying to tie the issue of MMIW to a theory of what the issue was. I removed any bias of what to me was the likelihood of being the culprit for this situation. In the future I would like to build a scraper to be able to effectively capture all the reports of MMIW and give each women acknowledgement as we try to move forward.