Murkowski Supports Improving Safety for Alaska Natives and American Indians

Signs on as Co-Sponsor to New Legislation

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined her colleagues on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this week to attend an oversight hearing to advance three bills to improve public safety for Alaska Natives and American Indians.  Senator Murkowski showed her support for the bills, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act, the SURVIVE Act, and Savanna’s Act, by signing on as a co-sponsor.

During her opening statement, Senator Murkowski spoke on the devastating statistics surrounding murdered and missing Native women. Murkowski believes the United States isn’t doing enough to address the staggering statistics. 

“Unfortunately in my tenure on the committee, and I think this has been going on 15 years now, these statistics as they relate to domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual assault, murder, youth suicide, suicide - they continue to mount,” said Senator Murkowski. “The efforts that we must make to help address at the federal level working with our tribes is something that I join my colleagues in the good work, but know we have an awful lot to be done to be even making a dent in things.”

 Indian Affairs Opening Statement Snap 10.25

(Click here to watch video.) 

Senator Murkowski later recognized the importance of these three bills and acknowledged practical ways in which they can help strengthen the federal role in preventing crime, provide much needed services for victims, and bring much needed attention and coordination to the issue of murdered and missing native women. While questioning the hearing’s witnesses, Murkowski also emphasized the importance of continuing progress in the utilization of tribal courts and encouraging preemptive measures like substance abuse prevention and mental and behavioral health programs.

“These bills are a good start at addressing what is needed for American Indians and Alaskans Natives who frankly have endured too much – we need to give these issues the attention they deserve, we need coordination across federal agencies, we need to ensure we have robust victim services to help victims get through their darkest days when they are experiencing it.”

Bill Details:

  • Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act: Reauthorizes and extends programs under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and adds additional requirements to improve public safety in Indian Country.
  • The SURVIVE Act: Increases tribal victim assistance by creating a tribal grant program within the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.
  • Savanna’s Act: Combats the epidemic of murdered and missing Native women and girls by improving the federal government’s response to addressing the crisis.