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Vigil held in Duluth for missing Native American woman

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(FOX47) — An annual vigil was held Tuesday in Duluth, with those in attendance demanding justice for Sheila St. Clair. St. Clair is a Native American woman who was 48 when she went missing in 2015.

“This is something that happens to adults in general, and it also seems to happen more often to cases involving minorities,” said Meaghan Good of the Charley Project.

“Last time she was seen in Duluth was August 20, of 2015. On September 10th, of 2015, she was reported missing,” said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tuksen.

“Come forward, let us have Sheila back. I will be out here every year until Sheila does come back,” said one speaker.

Nearly three weeks went by before she was reported missing. Good says this is a common theme for minority women.

“Unfortunately I do see a lot of cases like that of women of color who disappear, and it also happens to men of color, where they don’t get reported missing immediately,” said Good.

Based out of Indiana, the Charley Project is the nation’s largest, non-federally funded cold case database, with over 14,000 profiles. Those numbers don’t keep Good from noticing trends.

“It seems like people of color are more likely to go missing, just in my general observation. They are more likely to go missing for perhaps longer time periods,” said Good.

Minnesota’s numbers on missing indigenous women provide support for Good’s claims. An AP report from 2020 says Native American women make up 1% of the state’s population, yet make up 15% of Minnesota’s female missing persons cases every month

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan weighed in as well, saying: “For far too long, Native women have been, at best, invisible, and at worst, disposable.”

Good and those at the vigil say they are pleased though, with progress being made.

“It’s getting more attention than it used to, especially the whole missing and murder date of Native American women,” said Good.

“Imagine if every indigenous woman or person made the news nationally, how much of a difference that could make for our families and for our women,” said one speaker.

Noah Caplan

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