PEMBROKE, N.C. (WBTW)– An estimated 30,000 Lumbee Native Americans traveled to Pembroke, North Carolina for the annual Lumbee Homecoming. Some tribe members who attended the event aimed to raise awareness for the missing and murdered.
“There are so many unsolved murders. So many,” Shatter the Silence executive director Shelia Price said. She started the victims’ advocacy group after her daughter and two other women were found murdered in Lumberton in 2017. Her murder is still unsolved.
“Sometimes I feel like giving up because it’s been over four years since I lost my daughter,” Price said. “But I’m going to fight for her and I’m going to fight for everybody else.” Shatter the Silence started as a support group but now aims to enact change. High rates of missing and murdered people is a problem that affects many Native American communities, not just the Lumbee.
“This is an issue that unites all of us as indigenous people and we have to have these lines of solidarity where we work together to combat this issue,” North Carolina Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People founding board member Aminah Ghaffar said. Price said about 200 people showed up to demonstrate during the Lumbee Homecoming parade. They marched with signs featuring images of those they lost.
“I feel like I don’t do enough, but when I have events like this so many people show up that I’ve never met to support what we’re doing,” Price said. “It kind of brings you tears of joy instead of tears of sadness.” Shatter the Silence has recorded more than 400 unsolved murders. Price hopes to bring awareness to the issue and push for judicial reform so no one has o experience what she did.