Sen. Berthel Joins Watertown Residents at Capitol to Raise Awareness For Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls

May 3, 2023

Left to right – State Sen. Cathy Osten, Watertown residents Maddy Emmans, Dan Emmans, Brandi Sawyer Emmans, Tom Sawyer, and Krista Palumbo, alongside State Sen. Eric Berthel at the State Capitol during the Senate’s regular session on Wednesday, May 3.


Watch Sen. Berthel’s remarks here.


Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader Eric Berthel (R-Watertown) today welcomed Watertown residents to the State Capitol to draw attention to the upcoming National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls on May 5. Joining Senator Berthel on the Senate floor were Watertown’s Krista Palumbo, Brandi Sawyer Emmans, Dan Emmans, Maddy Emmans, and Tom Sawyer, who are part of the area’s indigenous Native American community.


Each year, thousands of Native American women and children go missing or are found murdered in the United States and Canada. Gaps in data make the true scope difficult to estimate, but the murder rate of Native women is more than ten times the national average on some reservations.


In observance of this upcoming day of awareness on May 5, also known as ‘Red Dress Day,’ The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Conn. will hang hundreds of red dresses and scatter red sands to inspire people to question, connect, and act against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation. The public can participate in this event while learning about the specific vulnerabilities that women and girls in Native American communities face, as well as the ongoing initiatives to bring about change.


“Thank you to Krista, Brandi, Dan, Maddy, and Tom for their advocacy for this tragic and disturbing situation among Native women and girls. Connecticut has a rich history of Native Americans, and we should do all that we can to raise awareness through programs like Red Dress Day. I hope that those in our area will participate in this powerful event,” said Senator Berthel.


State Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague), whose district spans eastern Connecticut, has also been a strong advocate for this bipartisan issue in the legislature. She said, “Every year thousands of indigenous women are reported missing. We should all be aware of this fact, and we should take time on May 5 to recognize what has long been ignored in this country – the disappearance and murder of indigenous women and children.”


Email [email protected] for more information or to participate.