Missing and Murdered Indigenous People are probably the saddest words imaginable in Indian Country. Taking the thought of those words and composing a song about the terrible issue takes a light spiritual touch of pen to paper, and a soulful heart to tongue linkage to perform it. 

That is something that singer, songwriters Salish Tribe member Gen Huitt and Nashville musician and producer Linda McKenzie pulled off with their collaboration on the song “Missing.”

The soulful duet rendition, now viewable on YouTube, was produced by McKenzie and accompanied on flute and electric guitar Kenny Lee Lewis, a member of the Steve Miller Band since 1981.

The genesis of the song began a couple of years ago in Ronan when McKenzie's and Huitt's paths intersected. As it is with musicians, they soon talked shop and the issue of missing and/or murdered women came up. McKenzie wasn’t aware of the heart wrenching issue that has sapped the souls of those left behind wondering what happened to their daughters, or sons, or their grandchildren, or cousin, or friend. 

“Jen told me — educated me,” McKenzie said in a previous interview. “I just couldn’t believe it was so bad. How could so many women go missing and worse probably murdered and I wasn’t aware of it. It’s different with white women. If I went missing it would be known, my name would be out there.” 

Out of that discussion, the pair decided to write a song about missing and/or murdered women. The collaboration was “Missing.”

McKenzie eventually moved to Montana last summer and the musical and video production the song of gained traction, and is now a finished project. Jen and Linda both hope that the song and video production will result in a larger segment of the public becomes aware of the enormity of the missing and/or murdered Indigenous women, and men of all ages but mostly the younger adolescent and young adult age groups.

As of last week, there were 179 active missing cases in Montana; 52 of them were American Indians. That equates to 29 percent the missing cases from a population that comprises 7 percent of the total Montana population. Twenty-five of the missing cases are male, and 27 are female. Thirty-nine of the missing were 21 years old and younger. Twenty-two of the juveniles are on the books as runaways; 17 have been missing for more than a year.

The song “Missing” is for them and all others in Indian Country

Grandmother walks, grandmother prays

Grandmother cries a tear on the grave 

For her Salish daughter half Kootenai

In the land where the sun rises high

And the bitterroot blooms as the elder cries

The eagle flies her prayer up high

A tear for a daughter who should not die

She’s a mother, a sister, someone’s wife

Her hands were tied, her spirit broke

Strangled at the hands of a strangers rope

They found her body three states away

In the corner of a cornfield there she lay

She was just here a short time ago

Where she went, they did not know

But somebody knows yeah somebody knows

She’s gone missing and somebody knows

Why her red blood runs cold

And she’s murdered and missing in a land called “home”

Grandmother walks, grandmother prays

Grandmother cries a tear on the grave 

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