It took only a few minutes for 10-year old Ashton Fish to express for everyone at the 2017 AMBER Alert Symposium, through both word and dance, why everything possible must be done to protect missing and abducted children in Indian Country.
“I want to be the voice for all the Indian children,” said Fish. “I want the AMBER Alert to be on the reservation so none of our children can go missing, no one can steal our children and we won’t be afraid to walk in the dark.”
The young man then performed a traditional dance for all missing children. Fish first became aware of the issue of for Native American children when he heard about the abduction and murder of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike on the Navajo Reservation in May 2016. Fish created a YouTube video to perform a dance in honor of Ashlynne Mike and to plead for all parents to watch over their children.
“I have been called by the Spirits to come around here and dance for Ashlynne Mike and all the other stolen kids,” said Fish on the video. “I dedicate this song for all the children, the aunts who are sad. Aho!”
Fish is a member of the Assiniboine Nation and traveled from Blackfoot, Idaho, to speak and dance at the symposium. His grandmother, Kristen Lowdog, said her son’s dancing is a good way for Native Americans to combat this problem because it involves their own culture and ways.
“He is very spiritually mature and voices his opinion out,” said Lowdog. “He has a big heart and he wants to do what he can to help.”
The artistry of Ashton’s expression of dance, combined with the wisdom of his words and vision for AMBER Alert’s protection of children on tribal lands, left symposium participants eager to meet this young man and shake his hand following the presentation.
Ashton and his grandmother presented AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program Administrator Jim Walters with a handmade ceremonial quilt in honor of his work with AMBER Alert and Child Protection in Indian Country.