Murkowski Recognizes National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Joins Alaskans for Prayer Vigil to Honor MMIWG
The U.S. Senate previously passed by unanimous consent S.Res.196, a resolution cosponsored by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recognizing today, May 5, 2021 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls (MMIWG). Yesterday, Senator Murkowski joined the Kenaitze Tribe and members of the Kenai community for a prayer vigil honoring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, their families, and the communities who have fallen victim to the crisis.
“My heart is with all the family members who have lost loved ones to this crisis. Not only do we honor the memory of those missing or murdered loved ones today, but we will continue to take action through changing laws and policy. I was glad to again cosponsor the Senate resolution designating today as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. It was moving to be with members of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe today for a prayer vigil to remember and honor the women and girls who have fallen victims to such a horrible reality,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’ve been heartened to see so many join us in taking action—from the federal, tribal, state, and local levels—in an all hands on deck approach to bring justice to individuals and families. Our work continues.”
In October 2020, President Trump signed into law Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act, two bills led by Senators Murkowski and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women. Specifically the bills work to combat the crisis by improving the federal government’s response through increased coordination, development of best practices, and creation of a commission on violent crime. In December 2020, Murkowski successfully included an additional $6.7 in the year-end funding bill for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to improve the federal response to the epidemic of missing, trafficked, and murdered indigenous women. The bill included $2 million for cold case work, $1 million for equipment needs, $3 million to support the goals of the Operation Lady Justice Task Force, and $750,000 for victim witness specialists. From this appropriations bill, the Department of the Interior had the resources to launch Missing and Murdered Unit offices across the country.
In addition to Senator Murkowski, S.Res.196, led by U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), is cosponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ron Wyden (D-OR), James Lankford (R-OK), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Senator Crapo (R-ID).
The full resolution can be found here and below:
Designating May 5, 2021, as the “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls”.
Whereas, according to a study commissioned by the Department of Justice, in some Tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average murder rate;
Whereas, according to the most recently available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, homicide was the sixth leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native females between 1 and 44 years of age;
Whereas little data exist on the number of missing American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women in the United States;
Whereas, on July 5, 2013, Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, was reported missing by her family in Lame Deer, Montana;
Whereas the body of Hanna Harris was found 5 days after she went missing;
Whereas Hanna Harris was determined to have been raped and murdered, and the individuals accused of committing those crimes were convicted;
Whereas the case of Hanna Harris is an example of many similar cases; and
Whereas Hanna Harris was born on May 5, 1992: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) designates May 5, 2021, as the “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls”; and
(2) calls on the people of the United States and interested groups—
(A) to commemorate the lives of missing and murdered American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women whose cases are documented and undocumented in public records and the media; and
(B) to demonstrate solidarity with the families of victims in light of those tragedies.