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Arizona's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-Spirit Peoples Resources: Introduction

Photography by Augustine Fernando Lopez (Pascua Yaqui)

Photographs by Augustine Lopez

(Pascua Yaqui Nation)

Augustine Lopez was born and raised on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation in Tucson, Arizona. In 2010, he retired as a U.S. Army Sergeant (SGT.) with two combat tours in Iraq (2003-2005 and 2007-2008). He is also a former police officer for the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui Nations (1999-2002). He describes himself as a product of the foster care system, and, with his experience, he feels that he can help others who have been forgotten; that he can be their voice through his experience.

Augustine is currently enrolled in his final year at the University of Arizona, majoring in photography and minoring in art history. His goal is to become a free-lance documentary photographer focusing on Indigenous issues. He wants to document the stories of humanity through his lens and through the stories of his people.

Augustine’s overall concept in photography is to present history and to document people and their lives for future generations. He wants to create life as it happens capturing the rawest moments of life and people. He feels that if he can capture the stories, cultures, and emotions in life and people through his lens, that these moments will make a difference in someone's life or in society in general. His lens will be the voice of the people and the difference we can make in this world.

Land Acknowledgement

"We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service." - University of Arizona

Scope & Intent

This guide in intended to provide access to resources pertaining to the epidemic of and movement for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-Spirit Peoples (MMIWG2S) specific to Tribal and non-tribal communities in Arizona. This guide includes policies and legislation; research, reports, academic scholarship, and databases; media; guides and toolkits; and information on where to get help and how to get involved specific to the state. This global problem cannot be addressed in a vacuum, so this intersectional guide also includes national and international resources intended to provide context to how local MMIWG2S cases and research are impacting and impacted by these connected tragedies and efforts.

Please feel free to reach out to Jessica Ugstad ( for comments and suggestions on the guide, to share resources you would like to recommend including in the guide, or any questions you may have pertaining to the guide.

Mental and Emotional Triggering Effect of MMIWG2S

Reading, learning, and thinking about MMIWG2S can trigger historical trauma or PTSD-symptoms. Please engage with these resources with caution and care.


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This project could not have been completed without the time, guidance, and contributions of William Simmons, Director, Human Rights Practice Graduate Programs, University of Arizona; Augustine Fernando Lopez (Pascua Yaqui), BA Fine Arts, Fall 2022, University of Arizona; Robert Williams, Regents Professor of Law, James E. Rogers College of Law, faculty co-chair, Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program, University of Arizona; Melissa Tatum, Milton O. Riepe Professor of Law, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona; Lori Bable, College of Law Alumni (2019), Staff Attorney at Pima County Public Defender; Kiera L. Ladner, Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba; Annita Lucchesi, founding Executive Director, Sovereign Bodies Institute; Attorney General Urbina, Pascua Yaqui Tribe; and Yolanda Yazzie (Navajo), MA Human Rights Practice Program Winter 2022, University of Arizona.  


“There’s no one single database that has all this information so, the full scope of the problem is we don’t know.” Gretta Goodwin, the director of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice team, told the Arizona Mirror.

"NamUS published a report in August stating that there are 734 unresolved missing Indigenous people’s cases from 36 states. Arizona has the third-highest number of cases at 55."

"A 2017 study from the Urban Indian Health Institute found that Arizona has the third-highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the country. That study reported a total of 506 known cases in 71 urban cities across the country and 54 cases were identified in Arizona, including 31 in Tucson." - Shodiin Silversmith, Arizona Mirror.