Native American Heritage Month: Gregory Bryan

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Gregory Ralph Bryan Jr., a 23-year-old member of the Paiute Tribe who disappeared from Del Norte County, California on August 1, 2009.

Bryan wanted to be a professional musician, and there are reports that he got involved in drugs in order to finance his music career, but I don’t know if that’s ever been confirmed. Whatever the case, he is described as a reliable person and it would be unlike him to just drop out of sight.

Native American Heritage Month: Harlan Dennis

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Harlan James Dennis, a 42-year-old who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on February 14, 2012. I do not know his tribal info.

Harlan was last seen at his mother’s home in the early morning hours. Although he was transient, he did keep in touch with his family. None of them have heard from him in over six years.

Native American Heritage Month: Gene Cloud

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Gene Jacob Cloud Jr., a 20-year-old member of the Ho-Chunk Tribe who disappeared from Jackson County in west central Wisconsin on January 25, 2012.

When I went to the Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness event in 2015, Gene’s family was there, dressed in their traditional tribal regalia and jewelry. I don’t think they showed up in later years, though.

So Gene got the borrowed car he was driving stuck in a ditch, and when a police officer offered to help him, he ran away, possibly because he had a few outstanding warrants for his arrest on minor charges. He was never seen again.

Searchers subsequently tracked his footprints for three miles through deep snow, and then search dogs traced his scent back to the road, where the trail stopped, suggesting Gene got into a vehicle. His family doesn’t think he left voluntarily, because his girlfriend was pregnant with their child and Gene was trying to become more responsible, such as by going back to school.

I have to wonder if he just didn’t get too far from civilization when he ran from the police that day, and got into trouble. The weather in Wisconsin in the winter is brutal, and it doesn’t look like he was properly dressed to be running miles through the snow.

Native American Heritage Month: Tom John

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Tom John, a 59-year-old Yupik man who disappeared from his tiny Alaskan village, Newtok, on March 26, 2017.

When I was researching John’s case, I discovered that Newtok itself is disappearing. It’s right on the ocean, and due to climate change, water levels are rising, and the permafrost is no longer permanently frozen, which is causing the land to sink. Newtok is being reclaimed by the sea and will probably be gone entirely in the next decade or so. The entire village will have to evacuate or they will all drown.

This is a problem many Alaskan villages are facing, or will face in the near future. Al Jazeera actually did a half-hour documentary about Newtok and other villages with this issue, titled When the Water Took the Land. Unfortunately, the villagers are kind of screwed, because moving the village elsewhere is going to cost millions of dollars, which they don’t have, and there’s no government program set up to help climate refugees.

Tom John himself, as a village administrator, was interviewed for this documentary (in 2015, about a year and a half prior to his disappearance) and said he thought the new village the Newtok residents planned to build would probably take about twenty years to get fully operational. And they don’t have that kind of time.

In this documentary they talk about how, because the sea ice is melting, the ocean has become much rougher and more dangerous than it used to be. Waves are bigger and stronger. Storms are more intense and destructive.

It got me back to thinking about Tom John’s disappearance. He went out seal hunting and never came back. They found a seal carcass and his snow machine, but no sign of John or his kayak.

Obviously he met with some mishap at sea, and I had to wonder if it was because his task was made all that much more difficult by the rougher ocean and the lack of sea ice. (The fact that he was operating a new kayak he was unfamiliar with cannot have helped.) Tom John’s disappearance may have been indirectly caused by climate change.

Native American Heritage Month: Michial Annamitta

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Michial David Annamitta Jr., who disappeared from Sawyer, Minnesota on November 23, 2013, at the age of 22.

I don’t have much on Annamitta’s disappearance, but it’s noted that he frequented the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Sawyer is an unincorporated community on the edge of the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation, where the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa live, but I don’t know if Annamitta is a Chippewa.

He has both mental health and substance abuse issues; the two often go hand in hand. I found his Facebook page and was able to add some more photos from that. His final post (the final public one, anyway) is from three months before his disappearance:

annamittafacebook

The circumstances of Michial Annamitta’s disappearance are unclear. If still alive, he’d be 27 years old today.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Isidro Limon Jr.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Isidro Limon Jr., who was 23 when he disappeared from Weslaco, a city in the southern tip of Texas, on September 14, 2000.

His case got some press attention around the fourteenth anniversary of his disappearance, such as this article (which mentions the Charley Project), after the local Crime Stoppers put out an appeal.

Foul play is suspected in Isidro’s case. The cops said he was involved in unspecified “illegal business dealings” and had made enemies in his personal life.

Well, that’s it for this year. I’ll probably repeat this for National Hispanic Heritage Month in 2019.