Murkowski Applauds Administration’s Focus to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis
Today U.S. Senator Murkowski (R-AK) issued the following statement after U.S. Attorney General Barr announced the Department of Justice is launching a national strategy to address the crisis of missing an murdered indigenous persons:
“Addressing the crisis of missing, trafficked, and murdered Indigenous women has been a high priority of mine in the Senate. I applaud the administration for this announcement and for making proactive, directed initiatives to improve the federal response to this epidemic. I was glad to host Attorney General Barr and his team in Alaska to show him first-hand the role that the lack of public safety plays in this heartbreaking epidemic. The urgency and attention he has placed on this issue is truly critical,” said Senator Murkowski. “Understanding the extent of the problem and how we implement solutions is imperative. With the Senate Indian Affairs Committee advancing Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act this week, coupled with this announcement today, we are showing women across the nation, and those who love them, that we will not sit idly by as our sisters, our mothers, our neighbors, and our friends continue to go missing—that we are with them in this fight.”
CLICK HERE for details on the Department of Justice announcement.
Earlier this week, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee advanced legislation led by U.S. Senators Murkowski and Cortez Masto (D-NV) to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native women. The bills, Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act, aim to combat the epidemic by improving the federal government’s response to the crisis. Savanna’s Act increases coordination among all levels of law enforcement, increases data collection and information sharing, and empowers tribal governments with access to law enforcement databases they need in cases involving missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, wherever they occur. The Not Invisible Act engages law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers and improves coordination across federal agencies. The bill designates an official to coordinate efforts across agencies and also establishes a commission of tribal and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice on best practices to combat the epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
In September of 2019, the Senate passed a funding package which included the Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020 on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Commerce, Justice, Science which provide for the first time, funding to address the crisis of missing, trafficked, and murdered indigenous women. Specifically, $6.5 million is included for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to take a comprehensive look at the issue across the BIA and Indian Health Service (IHS), which includes funding for cold case work, background checks, equipment needs, training, and a directive for the IHS regarding forensic training. The bill also includes language directing coordination and data collection among Tribal, local, state, and federal law enforcement.