Missing Minneapolis Indigenous Woman, Alexis White Hawk-Ruiz, Has Been Found Deceased

Minneapolis, MN – About 145 days after going missing, the family of Alexis White Hawk-Ruiz announced that she has unfortunately been found deceased. Alexis disappeared after leaving her North Minneapolis house the night of November 16, 2022, five days before her 21st birthday.

During a press conference on December 21, 2022, Alexis’ family expressed distrust towards whether the Minneapolis Police would properly investigate her disappearance (see the video below). Since going missing, the family had been holding regular search parties with friends and volunteers to find her. Those searches are now canceled. A GoFundMe that had been set up is still seeking support for expenses.

‘Alexis has been found, unfortunately deceased’

On April 11, 2023, the Finding Alexis White Hawk-Ruiz Facebook page posted that Alexis had “been found, unfortunately deceased.” The post stated that the family is “heartbroken” and “asking for privacy to grieve” after five months of searching and hoping.

“We regret to inform everyone that Alexis has been found, unfortunately deceased.

Thank you for all your help in trying to find Alexis, and for your contributions for her search. Her family really appreciates everyone’s help.

Alexis’ family is heartbroken 💔 by this news and asking for privacy to grieve at this time. Alexis’ grandmothers, mother, sister, brother and many relatives are still going to need our love, support and help.

We will share information as we are able, as to us, this is still an open investigation, many questions still need to be answered around the suspicious circumstances of her disappearance and death.

Alexis’ family is now making arrangements for a funeral service. Please contribute what you can to help her family send Alexis to be with her ancestors in the spirit world.

Thank you, and much love for your help and generosity during this very difficult time for Alexis’ family ❤️🙏🏼💔”

Just a few days before the news of Alexis’ passing, Jennifer, one of the admins of the Finding Alexis White Hawk-Ruiz page, posted on the page how big of a toll that Alexis’ disappearance was taking on the family and how Black and Indigenous families struggle the most with disparities in investigatory efforts and support.

“It is unfortunate any time a loved one goes missing, even more so when someone goes missing under suspicious circumstances, it really takes a toll on the family, loved ones, friends and coworkers of the missing person.

The other unfortunate part of a missing loved one is the disparities in the urgency by law enforcement, the media and the community to find the missing loved one.

We want people to be aware of the disparities between when a white person goes missing, how quickly law enforcement and media informs the public, investigations are conducted, flyers are shared, social media pages are created, shared & followed, money is raised with little effort, amounts for reward money is offered, and search parties are conducted, versus the responses when Indigenous and Black People go missing. Just as much urgency, efforts and actions need to be taken to help Indigenous and Black families find their loved ones too.

It is sad when anyone goes missing, but the disparities make it even harder for Indigenous and Black families. ❤️🤎🖤💔

With love,

Jennifer, one of the admin of the Finding Alexis White Hawk-Ruiz page. Alexis has been missing under suspicious circumstances since November 16, 2022 – missing for five months in April from North Minneapolis.”

Indigenous (American Indian, Native American) women accounted for 8% of all murdered women and girls in Minnesota from 2010 through 2018, despite being only 1% of the population (pdf). A long and detailed report (2020 report pdf) to the Minnesota Legislature in 2020 from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Task Force noted that the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls such as colonization, historical trauma, racism, and sexual objectification lead to increased risk including poverty, housing, child welfare and criminal justice system, domestic violence, and being trafficked.

The Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) was created in the Department of Public Safety to implement the recommendations made from the task force. Juliet Rudie, a tribal member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community and lifelong Minnesota resident, was named the director of the first office of its kind in the nation in February 2022.

There is currently no state or national system in place that collects data on missing and murdered Indigenous women in Minnesota.

Families of missing loved ones continue to question the tangible results of the task force and where to find invested support for their loved ones when they go missing.

Minneapolis Police declined to inform local CBS-affiliate WCCO about where or when Alexis was found but did tell them that the case is active “until the medical examiner determines how she died.” The Finding Alexis page had noted that to them, “this is still an open investigation [and] many questions still need to be answered around the suspicious circumstances of her disappearance and death.”

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