WEWIN Conference Fosters Unity, Progress and Empowerment for Native Women
By Kyler Edsitty
Las Vegas, NV [July 23, 2023] – The highly anticipated 2023 Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations (WEWIN) Conference commenced with a burst of energy and enthusiasm in the vibrant city of Las Vegas from July 23-26, 2023. Organized by WEWIN, this annual event attracted an impressive gathering of Indigenous women leaders and activists from across Indian Country, all committed to engaging, inspiring, and empowering women within their communities.
The conference created a dynamic space for Indigenous women to share their experiences, wisdom, and visions for a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future. One of WEWIN's goals is to amplify women's voices and foster a nurturing and safe environment for meaningful dialogue. Together, the attendees sought to address the unique challenges faced by Indigenous women and explore collaborative solutions that would lead to lasting impact.
For participants, the conference was an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and forge meaningful connections and establish collaborations that could drive transformative change within Indigenous nations. Deb Smith from the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe Tribe admired the event, stating, "I like to hear about the progress and success these Native women have made. Meeting women from all parts of Indian Country is inspiring. I plan to share and implement everything I learned about leadership back home in my community."
Native Public Media held a thought-provoking presentation focused on broadcast leadership for women and girls, the First Amendment, and the organization's goal of implementing a Missing Endangered Person (MEP) Alert to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) epidemic. The MMIW crisis highlights the disproportionately high number of cases involving the disappearance, homicide, and violence against Indigenous women and girls in North America. This profoundly troubling issue is a painful manifestation of longstanding systemic problems, including racism and gender-based violence.
NPM is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a national event code for Missing and Endangered Persons. Like the AMBER alert, this event code will deliver vital alerts across a large area when a person is missing, intending to ensure the safety and health of the missing individual. Remarkably, a national event code for missing and endangered adults does not exist, making NPM's initiative even more crucial. Some states have established event codes to fill this gap.
Reflecting on the significance of an FCC-approved event code, Loris Taylor, NPM President, and CEO, states, “Indigenous women are strong and brilliant, and WEWIN contributes to the broader goal of promoting social justice and equity in the United States and beyond for all of us. I talked to WEWIN’s leadership about the need for the FCC to establish an event code for missing and endangered persons. They were very receptive and encouraging. MMIW continues to impact the lives of entire tribal communities, and the reverberations of this empowering conference were healing and empowering.”
Like previous years, the 2023 WEWIN conference offered a rich tapestry of events throughout the conference, including keynote speeches, interactive workshops, and networking sessions. Esteemed speakers and thought leaders from diverse fields shared their insights on critical topics such as advancing women's leadership and overcoming challenges in health and well-being.