As the names of more than 200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were read, people listened in silence, many staring into space or at the carpeted floor of the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. A few quietly wiped away tears. Healers burned braids of sweet grass and bunches of sage, waving the smoke onto the half-dozen men reading the names.
Charlene Akpik Apok, Inupiaq, director of gender justice and healing for the nonprofit community advocacy and training organization Native Movement, was emcee of the Vigil and Heartbeat of the Drums for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She told the audience of more than a hundred people she had asked men to read the names to remember and honor allies in the fight against the loss of Indigenous women.”