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Disappearances

Melissa Eagleshield went missing 5 years ago. Thousands more Indigenous people have vanished since

Melissa Eagleshield went missing 5 years ago. Thousands more Indigenous people have vanished since

Linda Anderson is the mother of Melissa Eagleshield, who went missing more than five years ago. Anderson said she’s certain her daughter is no longer alive. Now, she just wants answers. Chris Flynn / The Forum

BECKER COUNTY, Minn. — It’s been five years since Linda Anderson last saw her daughter. And she hasn’t stopped looking since.

Her daughter Melissa Eagleshield, then 42, vanished in the middle of an autumn night.

Her socks, shoes, purse, left behind at a house in the middle of the woods. It was dark and only a few degrees above freezing when she was last seen at the house.

Investigators think perhaps Eagleshield wandered off in the middle of the night, losing her way in the unforgiving wilderness of Becker County.

Her mom thinks something more foul happened.

No one knows for sure, as Eagleshield has yet to be found. But her mom is certain about one thing: Her daughter isn’t alive. She would have called one of her kids or grandkids, or used the money left in her bank account by now, Anderson said. At this point, Anderson is just hoping for “closure.”

“It’s just a long, hard journey of no answers,” she said. “You’re always looking, but there’s no answers.”

Eagleshield, a descendant of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota, is one of the thousands of Indigenous people who have gone missing in the 21st century. The precise number of missing Indigenous people, however, is still unknown because of inadequate data collection, according to Global Indigenous Council acting president Tom Rodgers.

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