Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

U of R brings awareness to Native American epidemic

Indigenous persons experience disproportionately high rates of violence, which often leads to them going missing and/or being murdered. May 5 has become the nationally recognized MMIP Day (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples). To honor those who have been impacted, provide resources, and bring awareness to the epidemic, the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel will be lit with red lights between May 5 and 11.  

“People aren’t familiar with the Native American community,” Director of Native Student Programs, Nora Pulskamp of the Navajo Nation said. “Part of why the epidemic happens is because Native people aren’t seen. When we are seen, it’s as people who exist in the past – as historical figures, cartoons, or mascots. We’re dehumanized or placed as not relevant today.”

Dedicating 23 years to working in Native higher education, Pulskamp, who has been impacted by the epidemic, sees the need for greater awareness.   

“The MMIP epidemic touches Native communities across the board,” Pulskamp said. “Regardless of economic status, educational attainment, urban or rural communities; Native people are still more likely to be effected by this than non-Native people.”

Native American Student Union (NASU) President Jasmine Stevens ’25 of the Tohono O’odham Nation, has also led efforts to spread awareness by helping create resource pamphlets, planning film screenings, and hosting tabling events for students, faculty, and staff to get involved. Earlier this spring, Jasmine took part in a campaign called Braids for Cole, to spread awareness of Yellowstone and 1923 actor, Cole Brings Plenty’s disappearance.

“MMIP is a sensitive topic that people may not want to talk about,” Jasmine said. “Just because it doesn’t affect you, doesn’t mean it’s invalid or that you shouldn’t care. The more people know about it, the greater the resources become, and the more people can support the efforts of finding those missing.”

The fight doesn’t end with current students and staff - alumni and California State Assemblymember James C. Ramos ’09 coauthored the Feather Alert. The bill, passed in 2021, is a direct response to the MMIP epidemic and is specific to missing Indigenous People.

For information on ways to get involved, including events, please contact Native Student Programs. For organizations addressing MMIP, please visit the following links: