Montana teenager Selena Not Afraid has been missing since January 1, when she was last seen leaving from a New Year’s party. The 16-year-old girl was seen at a rest stop off of Interstate 90, between Billings and Hardin, early in the morning of January 1. She had left a disabled vehicle behind and walked into a field near the rest stop when she was seen last.
The young woman, who is a Native American of the Crow Nation, has been supported by her schoolmates from Hardin High School since she’s been missing. Her classmates have raised awareness for her, using hashtags to draw attention to her missing person’s case.
Not Afraid hasn’t been seen for over a week, but authorities are searching the area for her. Montana police began searching shortly after she was announced missing, and neighboring police departments in Wyoming and South Dakota have now also joined the search. Additionally, the Crow Nation is devoting resources to aid in the search, and have started a GoFundMe to help raise money for a reward for any information as to Not Afraid’s whereabouts.
Not Afraid, who is called Sal by friends according to social media posts, has inspired numerous classmates to rally to the cause of finding her and bringing her home safe. However, since she has been missing for such a long time, there is fear that her life could be in danger, or she could already have been killed.
Young Native American women and girls have been abducted and killed at rates that are highly disproportionate to the rest of the population according to recent findings. For instance, Associate Press reported that indigenous women made up 0.7 percent of missing persons reports, despite accounting for only 0.4 percent of people in the US.
President Trump created a task force to investigate the issue a short two months ago. Congress is attempting to get more information on the strange issue through Savanna’s Act, a law passed in memory of a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe named Savanna who was murdered in 2017. For now, it’s unclear why Native women are so much more likely to be targeted by violence and abduction.