Senate hears stories of Indian Country’s missing and murdered

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Senate hears stories of Indian Country’s missing and murdered

Data gaps, understaffing and lax investigations have deepened the crisis
J. Scott Applewhite/AP ImagesNavajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Patricia Alexander, a member of the Tlingit and Haida Alaskan tribes, exchange words of encouragement to each other before testifying in the Senate hearing.
What has Congress done?

Savanna’s Act: Introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D, in 2017, the act requires the Department of Justice to include victim’s tribal affiliation in federal databases, consult with tribes on cases regarding missing and murdered Indigenous people and standardize protocols for those cases. The act passed the Senate in December, and now goes to the House.Violence Against Women Act: Currently up for reauthorization, VAWA gives critical support to resources and protection for Indigenous women who face sexual violence, assault and rape. It restored tribal jurisdiction over non-Natives who commit domestic violence, but importantly, it does not protect women who are enrolled members of 228 tribes in Alaska because they are not included in the legal term ‘Indian Country.’Tribal Law and Order Act: Passed in 2010, the act gives more sentencing power to tribal courts, requires that the U.S. Attorney General submit a report to Congress annually that includes FBI investigations in Indian Country, and bolsters tribal police training and funding.The SURVIVE Act: Introduced this year by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., it’s a five-year bill that would set aside $150 million annually to help with law enforcement and investigations into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act: Passed into law this year, the act makes tribal nations eligible for AMBER alert grants and integrates tribal and state AMBER alert systems.

Senate hears stories of Indian Country’s missing and murdered

J. Scott Applewhite/AP ImagesNavajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Patricia Alexander, a member of the Tlingit and Haida Alaskan tribes, exchange words of encouragement to each other before testifying in the Senate hearing.