ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Following the “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls,” on May 5, a group of Senators and Representatives asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of how federal, state, and tribal agencies respond to missing and murdered indigenous women cases.
This comes just one month after Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV, introduced the Not Invisible Act. The legislation is aimed at addressing the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native people.
The Not Invisible Act requires all federal agencies that are involved to work together to coordinate and work with an advisory council to ensure they are identifying the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women and take action against it.
“It’s been an invisible problem for so long,” Cortez told Channel 2's Washington correspondent. “Now we need to shine a light on it and do something about it.”
Back in January, Murkowski and Cortez Mastro reintroduced Savanna’s Act, a bill to combat the epidemic of violence against indigenous women by improving the federal government's response to addressing the crisis. The bill improves tribal access to federal crime information databases by mandating that the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior consult with Indian tribes on how to further improve these databases and access to them.
The act also requires certain federal agencies to ask for recommendations from tribes on improving the safety of Native women. Murkowski stressed how important this is for Alaskan women.
“In Alaska, many rural communities lack public safety and are often hundreds of miles away from the nearest community with a Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) or State Trooper,” Murkowski said. “Enacting this legislation will allow for greater partnerships between law enforcement at all levels and ensure they have accurate data from which to work."
Murkowski added, "we have a duty of moral trust toward our nation’s first people and we must all be part of the solution.”
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