RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — During the Festival of Books in Deadwood last month, a panel discussed writing about missing and murdered indigenous people.

Several individuals from a variety of backgrounds came together to create awareness on this issue through writing.

One topic.

Several different perspectives.

All with the same goal of bringing awareness through writing.

“And I’m a poet and I take it from kind of that poetic standpoint and look at the trauma. I mean the trauma is kind of at the core of what I look at when I’m thinking about, what I’m writing about,” Poet Geri Gutwein said.

Author Joseph Marshall wants to get the message out to everyone.

“For many of us, not enough awareness is being created about it. So it’s appropriate that we get together and as a panel talk about how to write about it, what we’re writing about, and why we’re writing. So I think that’s what the panel is really about. It’s really about to highlight that one issue,” Author Joseph Marshall III said.

The Red Ribbon Skirt Society has been working for a long time to get to where they are now.

“I work a lot in the area of missing and murdered indigenous women. So it’s for myself and the society. It’s taken seven years to get to this point and people are starting to pay attention to the crisis,” Red Ribbon Skirt Society Founder Lily Mendoza said.

Writing is believed to also be a tool for healing. Knowing how to write is just as important.

“I know that it has helped me and I’m hoping that there will be some people in the audience who have lost family members and will have the opportunity to think about how best they can express those emotions through their writing,” Gutwein said.

These writers want to grow the awareness of this issue and bring it to full attention.

“It’s an issue we need to highlight as much as possible. We need to publicize it, we need to create public awareness as much as possible. So that it’s not placed back on you know, the second or third priority. It needs to be priority number one,” Marshall III said.

“So I think it’s really really critical that people take away from this, that it’s real, that it’s happening and ask the questions of how can we help,” Mendoza said.

As these individuals continue to bring awareness to the crisis, they hope others listening will do the same.