An advocacy group for domestic violence survivors is partnering with two Indigenous student groups at Montana State University to host a 5K race Sunday.
Haven is partnering with the MSU American Indian Council and the MMIP Student Association to spread awareness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples during Haven’s annual Mother’s Day 5K race.
This will be the first Mother Day’s race held for Haven in two years.
Both the 2020 and 2021 races were canceled, with virtual fundraising events held instead, due to the pandemic.
“We’re really excited,” said China Reevers, Haven’s events and corporate partnerships coordinator. “It’s so nice to be able to engage the community in person again.”
The race is scheduled for Sunday at Bozeman Pond Park on Fowler Lane. The race starts at 10 a.m.
Thursday marked national Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. The day was marked across Montana with events, including a prayer walk and round dance at MSU on Thursday.
Coupling Haven’s race with education and awareness around MMIP made sense, Reevers said.
There will be speeches from the participating MSU organizations and a poem read before the race starts, Reevers said. There will also be a booth set up with with resources and educational materials on MMIP.
“Montana has some of the highest rates for MMIP,” Reevers said. “It’s an epidemic here. It’s really wonderful that we’re able to collaborate in this way to further the conversation.”
In Montana, Native Americans are four times more likely to go missing than white residents of the state.
Native women are also more likely to experience domestic violence than white women. According to data from the Indian Law Resource Center, four out of five Native women experience violence, and one out of two experience sexual violence.
Additionally, Native women are 10 times more likely to experience domestic violence and murder than the national average.
The goal of the race is always to shine light on domestic violence and engage the community, said Erica Aytes Coyle, the executive director of Haven.
But not everyone in the Bozeman area knows about the MMIP epidemic, or how close to home it hits.
“We serve a pretty high proportion of Indigenous survivors,” Aytes Coyle said. “We want to make sure we’re doing our very best to create a safe and welcoming space for those survivors.”
Racers can register on the day of the event from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., or online at runsignup.com/haven5k.
The registration fee for AIC members and Native MSU students will be waived as part of the event.