All-out research, media attention for Gabby Petito reveals glaring disparity for Wyoming’s Indigenous people

There have been several reports about the missing of 710 indigenous people over the past decade and it seems like no one is doing anything about it.

Micaela Iron Shell showed solidarity for the missing and murdered indigenous people by painting red hands all over her face in the rally last October in Denver.

A 22-year-old white woman, Gabby Petito was reported missing and over five different agencies have been on the move to find her.

The search ended in Tragedy on Sunday after her remains were found and her death was described as a homicide. The case was followed closely, but it didn’t take long before Jocelyn Watt one of Petito’s sisters was murdered in Riverton, their home, along with her companion in January 2019.

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Not up to a year later, another sister Jade Wagon was found dead. The 23-year-old was reported missing not until her remains were found in the Wind River Reservation. Jade Wagon’s death was ruled accidental, Jocelyn’s death remains unresolved and the family has been wondering what’s happening.

Jade Wagon. Courtesy Nicole Wagon

Jade Wagon was among the 710 missing indigenous people in Wyoming in the past decade. According to the database collected so far, it seems like 84 percent of the missing victims were minors, 57 percents are women and girls.

The study revealed that indigenous people were about 100 percent more likely to still be missing after 30 days than white people. It also revealed that the cases received less attention than those of White Wyoming residents.

The story wasn’t in the highlights as people care less about the fewer minority people in rural Wyoming.

Journalist Gwen Ifill said missing white women are portrayed as innocent and perfect victims and the media always captures this, while the colored missing and murdered women are often ignored, this phenomenon she called ”missing white woman syndrome.”

Jocelyn Watt. Courtesy Nicole Wagon

They portray women of color as sex workers, drug addicts while their counterparts are always portrayed in a positive light.

Jade Wagon became an active voice for missing and murdered Indigenous Women after Jocelyn Watt’s death. Jocelyn lived just a few blocks away from Tinna Wagon.

Nicole Wagon, their 51 years mother said she will never give up on getting justice for her daughters. She stands as an advocate for many families that have lost their loved ones.

 Petito’s death brought to light the state of Wyoming and I hope that many things would be solved following the media coverage of the situation of things.

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