Community Search Organized for Local Missing Indigenous Woman
A search has been organized to help locate a missing member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Thirty-six-year-old Brenda Payer was last seen late last week at the McDonald’s on Hamilton Boulevard in Sioux City.
Her family notified police on Saturday night, according to police spokesperson Sgt. Jeremy McClure, who put out a news release on Payer on Wednesday.
“We're definitely asking for the public's help to keep an eye out for Miss Payer. We believe that she may be facing some crisis. So, we just want to make sure that she's safe. And that if she needs some help, we can get her the help that she needs.”
Help is also coming from the Great Plains Action Society, which organized the upcoming search. Here’s Board Member and Native American Advocate Terry Medina, who has known Payer for years.
“Brenda is very loving and compassionate. She’s a great mother with two beautiful daughters.”
“The past year-and-a-half has been rough. There have been reports of sightings of her in South Sioux City and other areas. We're just trying to track her down to get her back on medication. I couldn’t imagine something like that happening to family members I love.”
Sgt. McClure says in his experience, local indigenous community members have been extremely marginalized. The Police Department put together a Native American Advisory Council and works on building partnerships with local organizations and the public.
“I can speak to it anecdotally. Whether it's, you know, their response to generational trauma issues in the personal trauma they've experienced in mental health and substance abuse issues. And so, you know, we, we try to be more aware of that and have a little more, I guess, understanding of how trauma affects people and in how we respond with as a law enforcement agency to those issues and concerns, and then live up to the values in our mission statement, where we want to treat people with dignity and respect.”
Community members are being asked to meet at the Urban Native Center to search and distribute fliers from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday.