Our little sister was funny, kind, strong, hopeful and an incredible person. She was a proud Native American woman (Blackfeet, Chippewa, Mandan and Hidatsan). She was always helping others and finding her way in the world after fleeing domestic violence.
She was spending time with friends when her life was taken by gun violence. Two men were provided access to guns illegally by the prison guard guarding the perpetrator who ended my sister’s life.
We miss her every single day. Twenty years is a long time to miss her. She has missed graduations, celebrations and the joys of a life denied her.
We carry her with us every day. We as her family try to honor her legacy of love, hope and peace. Her spirit lives within each of those who loved her.
In the Blackfeet language, we say “Ikakimaat” to our young people, and that means to try hard. We all need to try harder to love each other in ways that will heal our communities and spirits. One of our teachers of the Amskapi Pikuni language reminds us that we say “Kitssiikakomim” to let others know that we love them. We love. We heal. Together.