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Empty red dress display at Northern Quest stark reminder of missing and murdered indigenous women

Kalispel Tribal elder Stephanie Stoop made a custom jingle dress for Thursday's ceremony put on by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and by Northern Quest.

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash — It's a stunning jingle dress made of red velvet and decorations.

But it's a dress with no one to wear it and it's one of many empty red dresses hanging at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights.

Each dress represents a missing or murdered indigenous woman from Washington state.

Kalispel Tribal elder Stephanie Stoop made this custom jingle dress specifically for Thursday's ceremony put on by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and by Northern Quest. The ceremony was held for National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

"I have been working my tail off for the last six days. I didn’t sleep last night at all to get the dress done by 7 a.m.,” said Stoops.

The work was worth it, but what it represents is heartbreaking.

Washington state has the second highest rate in the country of indigenous people going missing or being murdered, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute.

According to the Washington State Patrol, 126 Native American people are missing in Washington.

Earlier this year, the Washington state legislature passed House Bill 1725 to create an alert system for missing indigenous people. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law in March.

Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition’s Haley Abrahamson said, "I think we're in a good spot right now. We've got a lot of momentum and a lot of people jumping on board to finally keep acting and find our people."

There's also still hope that some of the missing can be found.

“I know what it's like to be lost and out there all by yourself,” said Stoops. “So it breaks my heart so many are missing."

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