Daeda Pevo talks about her nephew Austin Pevo as his mother, Susan, wipes her tears.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The family of Austin Pevo organized a Missing, Murdered & Abducted Family Members event at Sho-Ban Jr./Sr. High School on Friday, May 3. Austin has been missing since February 2018.
The program started with a flag song and prayer by Wynona Charles.
Miss Sho-Ban High School Queen Tia Smith-Buckskin did research on missing, murdered Indigenous people and shared some of her findings, for example the Urban Indian Health Institute reported 5,712 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were reported in 2016 with only 116 of them logged into the Department of Justice database. She stressed there was a lack of data in reporting for missing indigenous people. She said it was up to the people to raise awareness and make sure the voiceless have a voice.
Daeda Pevo said it breaks her heart thinking about her missing nephew, Austin, and what her sister, Susan is going through. She mentioned the other missing male from the community Matthew Broncho, who was last seen March 20.
Daeda told the audience to always be aware of their surroundings and asked everyone to always watch out for one another. She talked about the love she had for the community and especially the youth at Sho-Ban, who she works with. She asked them to speak up and to say something if they see something.
Paul Frank from Carrying the Message said he was 14 years sober and knew firsthand about life with drugs and alcohol, which can be a contributing factor to some of these cases. Frank talked about the importance of honoring and respecting one another.
Paul Frank talks to youth at the event on May 3.
Susan said it was 15 months since she last saw her son and talked about how she dropped him off before work. She talked about Austin in his youth and how he was a grass dancer and how he wanted to be a chicken dancer and received his grandpa’s pheasant bustle to dance with.
Susan said she always thought as a mom her son would be all right and grow to be a good person. She said somewhere along the way Austin got lost in drugs and alcohol. It was hard for her to see him struggle, but she always had hope he would be okay.
Susan told the young kids if they ever get lost anywhere to talk to their parents.
“Don't ever think that your parents are not going to listen to you, talk to them tell them how you’re feeling. Don’t come up missing like my son,” she said.
Susan said she doesn't know where he is, if he’s even alive, but she is hoping and praying everyday that he will come knocking on her door and come home.
“Don’t ever get lost in drugs and alcohol, it’s not worth it. You never know where you’re going to end up. You never know what’s going to happen to you,” she said.
Susan pleaded with the youth to talk to someone if they needed to, “Don't become a statistic like my son.”
Information table about Austin Pevo.
The Red Runners group also organized a run from Bannock Creek to Snowville on Sunday, May 5 to help in the search of Matthew Broncho.
The community is invited to a Prayer Walk set for Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for missing Indigenous people on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation & throughout Indian country. An opening prayer will start at the IHS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and the walk will go to the Old Casino parking lot. There will be speakers from the surrounding communities.
An honor song for the missing concluded the event.