THREE AFFILIATED TRIBES RESERVATION, NEW TOWN, N.D. – This weekend a citizen drone pilot troupe began canvassing the many miles of water around New Town, North Dakota, as the search for the Indigenous mother of five gone missing since late October, Olivia Lone Bear, pushes on.
In the weeks prior, the need for drones with cameras and long-range capabilities has intensified. Tribal police on the reservation have been holding watercraft in a store-yard locally instead of committing them for what they’re needed for: to help bring Olivia home. The strength of the community behind the Lone Bear family has instead picked up the slack providing sonar equipment alongside the drone pilots who have come.
“There is vast terrain to cover on reservations and time is of the essence with cases like Olivia’s. Having eyes in the sky is extremely useful and necessary right now before the drone comes. It was inspiring to see all the drone pilots who came out to help. If you have a drone, get out here and help.” – Teena Pugliese, volunteer drone pilot
The Lone Bear family’s ground search was also joined this weekend by another Indigenous family affected by the epidemic that is #MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women): Savanna Greywind’s parents. Greywind’s life was taken earlier this year and her baby kidnapped. The child has since been returned home safely to the family.
“We live in a society which tells us that we’re obligated to participate in a system that will offer us protection, safety and security in return. Our experience at this time tells us that isn’t true, so we have realized that going forward, Indigenous people have to respond in support of each other in place of those broken promises. We have to create strategies and plans of action that will protect, find and bring home our relatives. We are going to have to be the ones who will address this until the authorities can be on the same page as the families who are suffering.” – HolyElk Lafferty, volunteer searcher, and mother
“Enough is enough. We should be able to rely on the tribal police to help us find a tribal citizen. It’s frustrating. We shouldn’t have to pry to get basic information, either. What happened to ‘protect and serve’? We are so gracious for the strong dozen searchers that are here because without them, we’d be pretty bad off. It shouldn’t be this way. Enough of our missing people not getting a significant inquiry into their disappearances from Tribal police. ” – Matthew Lone Bear, Olivia’s brother
Volunteers to aid in the ground search are still desperately needed.
PRESS CONTACT: MATTHEW LONE BEAR
PRESS PHONE #: 701-595-3114
LINK: Greywind / Lone Bear press conference live stream (https://www.facebook.com/searchingforolivialonebear/videos/129819864354681/)