Xóchítl Papalotl Ramírez is a member of the Northern Nevada American Indian Movement who helped organize the upcoming Stolen Sisters Memorial event to take place under the Reno Arch from 12 to 3 p.m. on March 5.
Tell me about the Stolen Sisters Memorial.
So, the Stolen Indigenous Folks Memorial is … a celebration to folks that have gone missing, have been murdered or denied all throughout Turtle Island—so that stretches from north to south of this continent. What we’re trying to do is reach out to folks that have family that have experienced any of the three—and reach out to in international solidarity. … The international movement is missing and murdered indigenous women. We have chosen to make it missing, murdered and denied indigenous folks. So we include two-spirited folks. … I’ll give you a little bit of background about the three. One of them is the murdered piece, right? It’s essentially celebrating the lives of those that have been taken from us unjustly through murder, genocide, assassination, etcetera. … From our ancestors to current day, we’re still surviving genocide. … We’re welcoming any family locally that has lost any relative to any sort of symptom of the capitalist system. And then the missing part essentially is to cover those that have gone missing up in so-called Klanada. There’s a Highway of Tears. … Women get picked up hitchhiking, and then they disappear. But it’s also to bring awareness to the missing indigenous women in Juarez, which not a lot of folks are aware of either. … And then the denied part goes for the indigenous folks that might not be federally recognized. So any tribe out there that is not federally recognized, this is our shout out in solidarity to you.
You actually moved the date, right?
Yes. So we have chosen to move the date of our event due to some, essentially, racism that still continues today in this city. We had planned to host this event March 4 for months. And a week ago, a member of this community—I’ll keep their name anonymous—but they decided to host a pro-Trump rally in call of so-called—quote unquote—unity. Of course we rejected the offer to collaborate with any of those people because we believe that—first of all—the purposes of our events are completely different and—second of all—we will not unite under hate.
Were you asked to combine the events?
Yes. So in a way, to us, that is silencing, again, indigenous folks. I just really would like to stress the fact that we are peaceful people and, therefore, we decided to move our event, because we have suffered in this community acts of racist terrorism, like the one that happened on Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day.
The event is just a few days after trial starts for Nicholas Mahaffey, who drove through the crowd.
And we’re also hosting a Justice for Kitty demonstration March 1. … So, essentially, we decided as a community to move our event to avoid any sort of confrontation because, again, we are peaceful people, and we don’t want to give any of these people any sort of reason to even think they can harm us, because they can’t.
Kitty [Colbert] is the woman who was severely injured in the October incident, right? Is she OK?
I wouldn’t want to speak for Kitty. But I would say that, from my own personal outlook, her life has been transformed by this incident. And we love her and support her, and we continue to pray for her healing.