Oops! Did you know your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser for the best experience on AudPop. Update my browser now




This video competed in
Indigenous Narrative Film Challenge

SYNOPSIS Gone Missing looks at the missing and murdered Indigenous crisis through the eyes of Meskee Yanabah Yatsayte, a Diné relative devoted to preventing and tracking missing cases on the Navajo Nation Reservation. DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT In 2019, I took an anthropology class “Indians and Film” which looked at the relationship between Indigenous Americans and the film industry. I studied films like Terrence Malick’s “The New World” and Kevin Costner’s “Dances with Wolves” and identified a common thread: Native Americans in cinema experienced a stock portrayal, where they were subject to playing the same characters over and over again. This symptom of Hollywood filmmaking forced me to look deeper at the variety and colorfulness of Indigenous cultures, and urged the need for Indigenous representation across the entertainment industry. When the pandemic hit this year, I was fortunate enough to be part of a podcast “Awareness Tuesday” on human trafficking awareness. Upon reading that COVID-19 had devastated the Navajo Nation, I knew this would directly correlate with human trafficking: Meskee Yatsayte was the only person I could find who was publicly speaking out against human trafficking and the crisis of missing and murdered persons on the Navajo reservation. During our conversation on the podcast, Meskee shared her Uncle James had gone missing during the initial hit of the pandemic when the government closed access to Navajo Nation. This prevented Meskee from being able to find her uncle, and forced her to keep searching until June when she eventually found him. His cause of death has still not been determined. Meskee’s story highlighted the intersection of disease and missing and murdered Indigenous people, inspiring me to take a leap of faith and drive out to the Navajo Nation in August where I filmed this documentary project for three days. The experience of filming this documentary confirmed the gravity of the missing and murdered crisis Meskee described: we interviewed six strangers about the subject matter, and every single one had a personal connection to the subject matter. The stories of these individuals will live in my heart forever. Making this film was only the beginning of personal reparations I’m planning towards our Indigenous peoples, and I am forever grateful and honored that Meskee gave us the opportunity to visit her community and create this important film. CREDITS FEATURING MESKEE YANABAH YATSAYTE DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY ETHAN PAISLEY ASSOCIATE PRODUCER BEN ESCOBAR DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY KIARA RAMIREZ EDITOR KIARA RAMIREZ PRODUCTION SOUND BRANDON SEQUEIRA SPECIAL THANKS ANNIE COMPTON