HARDIN – USA TODAY’s Women of the Year recognizes women across the country who have made a significant impact. This year, Cheryl Horn from Hardin, Montana, has been nominated for the 2022 list of women.
Horn has become an advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women, helping initiate social media campaigns, organizing search parties, printing flyers and educating people about the struggles of unsolved crimes involving Native people.
Horn’s 16-year-old niece Selena Not Afraid went missing in December of 2019. Her body was found three weeks later near a rest stop in Big Horn County, according to the USA writeup on Horn.
But rather than giving up, Horn wanted justice.
“When you’re going through searching for your loved one and you’re actually out there knowing that you’re the only one searching, it’s really eye opening and life changing,” Horn told USA TODAY. “I just kept promising myself that I wouldn’t stop, that I’ll help other people.”
Native Americans comprise roughly 6 percent of Montana’s population, yet they account for, on average, 28 percent of the state’s active missing persons cases, according to the Montana Department of Justice Missing Person’s Data Analysis report.
“I’m in a position where I’m fortunate,” Horn said. “I’m safe on my reservation, I do speak out on my reservation, and I’m fortunate that my council members listen to me and support me. That’s very crucial. If … I don’t have support at home, how can I go out and help others?”