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Green Bay, WI: Vigil and caravan for Donna Christensen and missing, murdered indigenous women

By Aodhan Bowman

Green Bay, WI – On November 1, the Wisconsin Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression held a car caravan and vigil for Donna Christensen, an Ojibwe woman and member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who was found dead in a jail cell in Vilas County, Wisconsiin.

The car caravanners displayed signs and chanted slogans calling for justice for Donna Christensen and for all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), as well as justice for all victims of police crimes. They flew a banner with the words “Native lives matter” and “Justice for Jonathan,” an indigenous man murdered by Green Bay police in October 2018.

They chanted “Native lives matter” and “Black lives matter” as the caravan intercepted the Green Bay Packers players’ buses and their police escorts.

Afterwards, there was a moment of silence for Donna Christensen, then some spoke about the situation around her death and about the plight of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, including three Menominee women in 2020 alone.

“Greed for power and status has fueled capitalism, making it normal to view things and our natural resources as disposable, seeing property valued more than human life, treating people as expendable,” said Louise Padron-Brady, a worker at the Oneida Domestic Violence & Prevention Program. “Native women are so commonly dehumanized that there was not even data collected on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women until 2006.”

So far, very little information has been released about Christensen’s death. Christensen had just spoken with her family from the jail at 5 pm the prior night, remarking that she would see them soon and asking her mother for some money for canteen. She was then placed on discipline by a notoriously anti-indigenous sergeant, before being found hanged the next night at 11 pm.

The Lac du Flambeau Tribe has seen other members die in the Vilas County Jail, with Council Member Charles “Gus” Theobald Jr. asking, “Why is it only Anishinaabe people who die at the Vilas County Jail? It’s always our young people.”

November 1 marks the beginning of Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, and Christensen’s death is a devastating reminder that Native lives, especially indigenous women and children, are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence, whether as a result of police crimes or domestic abuse.

U.S. oppression is a constant threat to Native lives, indigenous rights and indigenous national sovereignty. We demand justice for Donna Christensen by having a prompt, transparent and unbiased investigation, and for those responsible for her care to be held accountable for their role in her death.

#GreenBayWI #PeoplesStruggles #PoliceBrutality #MMIW