Wisconsin Indigenous Riders Visit Tribal Communities to Raise Awareness for MMIW
A small group of women dressed in red with their fists raised in the air greet a large group of motorcycle riders as they pull in front of the Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl.
The Wisconsin Indigenous Riders started at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Wittenberg. The stop with the Lac du Flambeau tribe was their third of the day.
“Each of one of the riders that came, came from all over. We have riders from flint Michigan. We have riders from Oklahoma, Minnesota. North Dakota, South Dakota, Northern Michigan and of course here in Wisconsin,” said Bruce LaMere. He organized the ride over the weekend.
LaMere is Ho-Chunk Nation and lives in Tomahawk. He said these people came from all over to ride with single purpose, raise awareness for Missing and Murdered in Indigenous Women [MMIW].
“We’re going to be visiting eight tribal communities and throughout that we’re missing quite a few people: a lot of women, elders, children,” said LaMere.
The riders passed a reminder of one of those women as they entered Lac du Flambeau: a now faded billboard asking anyone with information about Susan Poupart to talk to police.
“She’s been murdered, and they still haven’t found the killer. It’s been close to 30 years I believe. It’s just important a lot of tribal members that they’re doing this ride and bringing more awareness to other people,” said Phyllis Wyse. Wyse is from Red Cliff but has live in Lac du Flambeau for more than 20 years.
Like many indigenous people, The MMIW movement is personal to her.
“I’ve had some murdered relatives. I was almost a statistic when I was 18. It’s very close to my heart. I know what people are going through and how they feel,” said Wyse.
The Wisconsin Indigenous Rider formed is a group of all Native American riders that formed in February.
LaMere said the Wisconsin Indigenous Riders partnered with the Wisconsin MMIW task force to raise awareness of women who have already gone missing or been murdered and hopefully to prevent it from happening again.
“We’re on a mission," said LaMere.
The group also stopped in Mole Lake, Crandon, Red Cliff and Bad River on this trip.