Department of Justice and Department of Interior take important step in addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous People crisis
Not Invisible Act Commission set to begin advisory role
(STL.News) U.S. Attorney Nick Brown today highlighted National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. Washington State and both of its U.S. Attorney’s Offices are working collaboratively to build systems to ensure tribal communities can quickly report and seek help if a tribal member goes missing.
“Here in Washington, many of our tribal communities are completing their tribal community response plans to address this initiative. These plans set a framework so that the community and law enforcement can quickly respond if someone goes missing,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “Our program coordinator has seen great progress on the plans and in the months ahead will continue to expand the planning process to additional tribes.”
Today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco recognized National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day with a virtual event to highlight the Not Invisible Act Commission.
“The Justice Department is committed to addressing the crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous persons with the urgency it demands,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That commitment is reflected in the strength of our partnerships across the federal government, including with the Department of the Interior as we take the next steps in launching the Not Invisible Act Commission. The Commissioners announced today will play a critical role in our efforts to better meet the public safety needs of Native communities. The Justice Department will continue to work alongside our Tribal partners with respect, sincerity, and a shared interest in the wellbeing of Tribal communities.”
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, but a lack of urgency, transparency and coordination have hampered our country’s efforts to combat violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “As we work with the Department of Justice to prioritize the missing and murdered Indigenous people’s crisis, the Not Invisible Act Commission will help address the underlying roots of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples crisis by ensuring the voices of those impacted by violence against Native people are included in our quest to implement solutions.”
The Not Invisible Act Commission will make recommendations to the Departments of the Interior and Justice to improve intergovernmental coordination and establish best practices for state, Tribal, and federal law enforcement, to bolster resources for survivors and victim’s families, and to combat the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people.
Among its missions, the Commission will:
- Identify, report and respond to instances of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples (MMIP) cases and human trafficking,
- Develop legislative and administrative changes necessary to use federal programs, properties, and resources to combat the crisis,
- Track and report data on MMIP and human trafficking cases,
- Consider issues related to the hiring and retention of law enforcement offices,
- Coordinate Tribal-state-federal resources to combat MMIP and human trafficking offices on Indian lands, and
- Increase information sharing with Tribal governments on violent crimes investigations and other prosecutions on Indian lands.
- The Commission has the authority to hold hearings, gather testimony, and receive additional evidence and feedback from its members to develop recommendations for the Secretary and Attorney General.