Mother Jones

THIS NATIVE AMERICAN LIFE

Our story is tragic, but not in the way you think.

BACK IN JUNE, activist Shaun King tweeted out a colleague’s Intercept story to his million-plus followers: “All over this country, for decades on end now, indigenous women have gone missing at an alarming rate,” he wrote. “Authorities are just now truly acknowledging the crisis.” I remembered then to ask around the rez whether Roberta was still missing.

Roberta, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, is from my reserve on British Columbia’s Seabird Island. It’s a small community, and it only took a few Facebook messages to learn she’d been spotted at a 7-Eleven. I’d seen her myself a few months earlier, and she wasn’t looking well. When I was young I used to babysit for a friend of hers, and I still remember how hard they partied. Someone close to Roberta told me she had been trying to stay in recovery—she was “lost but not lost.” Just putting this to paper perpetuates a negative stereotype: We’re doing this to ourselves.

In March, Roberta had posted on Facebook, “Do you believe in me? acknokwledge me please.” She was reported missing April 13, and for weeks I would stare at her profile

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Mother Jones

Mother Jones12 min read
Where Roe Doesn’t Reach
While people worry about a world in which abortion access is no longer protected, the women of Mississippi are already living in it.
Mother Jones2 min read
Matt As Hell
“Yesterday I saw a lady at Publix use her ‘Access’ welfare card. Her back was covered in tattoos. RT if u support entitlement reform.” In 2013, taking to Twitter to mock a participant in Florida’s public assistance program “This lawsuit reads like
Mother Jones3 min read
Are You Sure You Want To Quit?
CAN THE VERY online ever unplug? The question has spawned a cottage industry: everything from offline vacations and “digital detox” apps to books about how we might uncouple ourselves from an economic order in which our very attention is a commodity.