Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives unveils new logo ahead of National Day of Awareness

May 2—WILLMAR

— In anticipation of the National Day of Awareness for Missing Murdered Indigenous Relatives on May 5, Minnesota's recently formed Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives unveiled its new logo to the public to differentiate itself from other public safety offices while helping bring awareness to the issue it seeks to resolve.

Juliet Rudie, director of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office, talked during a virtual news conference Tuesday about the significance of the logo and what she had been doing in the past year for victims and families of murdered or missing Indigenous people.

Rudie noted that despite Indigenous people making up about 1% of Minnesota's general population, American Indian women account for 9% of the state's homicide rate. Shocking statistics, said Rudie, urging people to think differently about the numbers.

"These victims are not just numbers, but human beings with families, jobs, dreams and futures," she said.

The primary red color of the logo is used to coincide with the movement. According to a supplemental news release, the face of a gender-agnostic Indigenous person also has the prominent red handprint, a recognizable symbol from the movement used to symbolize silence of media and law enforcement agencies while also showing solidarity with victims whose voices are not heard.

In addition to the prominent red, shades of teal are also incorporated into the logo representing awareness, prevention, and support of sexual assault survivors, according to the description in the news release. The person sits in front of a red circle, representing the sun, signifying a new day and new beginnings for Indigenous people everywhere.

Rudie said Tuesday that she and her staff worked with an Indigenous firm over several months and took great considerations to create the office's logo.

"Our goal was to have our logo recognize the growing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people," she said. "We hope this image brings a renewed awareness to the crisis affecting Indigenous people across Minnesota while evoking a sense of hope for a better and brighter future without violence, poverty, racism and injustice."

Over the past year, Rudie has spent much of her time visiting tribal communities across Minnesota, helping build relationships with tribal leadership, victim service providers, law enforcement agencies, and Crime Stoppers of Minnesota. Rudie said during the news conference that the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people is something that can only be tackled with a 360-degree approach.

"It has to be a community restorative justice process," she said.

Rudie's advice to the public is to learn about the issue but understand the other underlying issues such as domestic abuse and sexual assault. She also said that people need to be supportive of advocates and agencies helping victims.

According to the news release, other root causes of violence such as racism, colonization, and historical trauma are key to identifying solutions of prevention and reduction.

Rudie, a Lower Sioux Indian Community tribal member, has 28 years of law enforcement experience and is currently working on a project with Wilder Research focusing on Brandon's Law, a law passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2009 that specifically states there is no waiting period to report a missing person, even if the reporting party isn't in the correct jurisdiction. The law was passed in order to help family members quickly obtain assistance from law enforcement.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office was established in 2021 after Gov. Walz signed legislation. The Minnesota Legislature created the office in 2019 to provide support and resources for affected Indigenous families and communities.