Impact Entrepreneurship


I serve as the chair of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives Utah, a grassroots organization that aims to engage with Indigenous community members affected by violence, and to educate non-Indigenous allies about the historical & contemporary issues that we as indigenous people face.
As a DinĂ© (Navajo) woman living in American Fork Utah and working in fashion design, I had no idea that I would delve so deeply into community work. I was somewhat aware of the disproportionate rates of violence that affected myself and other Indigenous relatives, but when my younger sister called in the Fall of 2018 to inform me that my nephew’s mother, who was also Navajo, had been found dead in Sweetwater Arizona under suspicious circumstances, I felt compelled to dedicate my time and efforts to educate my community on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) issues in hopes of spreading awareness.

As an organization we have been fortunate to partner with several local organizations including those who have embarked on legislative initiatives that impact our Indigenous community which have led to a MMIR Task Force in the State of Utah whose mission is to provide critical data that pinpoints issues and provides solutions. Over the years we have been able to assist families with supplying mutual aid, volunteer support during court hearings, fundraising for search parties, funerals, and more.

 As an Indigenous-led organization, it was important thout our mission includes healing. We have partnered with local community gardens in order to plant and cultivate culturally significant healing medicines that can then be distributed to families of those affected, further enhancing our mission of holistic healing. 

The most difficult aspect of engaging with this type of work has been witnessing the weight of what it means for families affected and how oftentimes there is little access to justice in terms of perpetrators being prosecuted and serving time for crimes committed. Oftentimes information from law enforcement regarding those who are still missing or families with cases that have become cold and buried at the bottom of a detective’s backlog can be frustratingly elusive.

Overall, I have seen that through this work we can continue to shift perspectives and garner more support to keep our indigenous relatives safe. I have learned that leaning into your community can have impactful results and ultimately lead to lasting change that will improve the quality of life for future generations of Indigenous relatives and shape a space where they feel safe to exist with support and awareness from their community.

Click here to connect with Michelle Brown on LinkedIn

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