Reports Related to National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The Billings Gazette has an amazing collection of photos from the Line the Rim event yesterday, where hundreds gathered along the edge of the Billings Rimrocks to honor missing and murdered indigenous people. The event was organized by Montana State University Billings and the local community. The Billings Gazette has published a whole series of articles about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).

Several bills aiming to combat the crisis of missing Native Americans in Montana are now on the books, after members of the Montana Legislature’s Indian Caucus fought to make them a reality.
While the November 2018 elections were noted nationally for substantially increasing the number of women serving in elected office, Montana saw its largest-ever group of Native American lawmakers elected. For the first time in state history, the percentage of Native legislators mirrored that of the state population as a whole, close to 7%.

One of those bills, Hanna’s Act, passed the legislature nearly unanimously last month, and was signed into law Friday. Part of a package of legislation developed by the legislature’s State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee, it will create a new position with the Department of Justice to track missing-persons cases in the state and assist families and law enforcement agencies to find those people.

As bills fighting missing, murdered natives crisis become law, what’s next for the movement? SAM WILSON swilson@billingsgazette.com May 5, 2019

The Arizona Republic has a story about a billboard that recently went up about MMIW. Some fear the billboard could be a trigger for those who are missing or have lost loved ones. It can be seen driving east on Indian School Road near the on ramp for I-17 in Phoenix.

A bill is making its way through the Arizona Senate on the subject. HB 2570 would establish a study committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Arizona.
Arizona has the third-highest number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in the country, according to a 2017 study from the Urban Indian Health Institute.
The study recorded 506 known cases in 71 urban cities across the country. Fifty-four cases exist in Arizona, 31 of those in Tucson.
From 1976 to 2017, the Murder Accountability Project has identified 156 homicide cases involving Native women in Arizona. Of those, 42 remain unsolved.

Billboard campaign comes to Arizona with strong message on missing, murdered Indigenous women, Arizona Republic, Shondin Silversmith, April 28, 2019

This is the link to a good article about MMIW by Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa.

The following is the latest legislative update from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a Quaker lobby organization that works to help the passage of peace and social justice legislation. You can sign up to receive monthly updates on congressional action and legislation related to Native American affairs here: https://act.fcnl.org/signup/nalu-signup/

On April 4, the House passed H.R. 1585, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bill included several strong provisions for Native American women. It would expand tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians to include crimes of sexual assault, stalking, sex-trafficking, and child abuse. The bill also contains Savanna’s Act, a bill from the 115th Congress. It addresses the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women by improving responses to cases and data collection.
Native American women are facing a crisis of violence. More than 80 percent have experienced violence in their lifetimes, and nearly half have experienced sexual violence at the hands of a non-Indian assailant. Often these assailants face no repercussions and victims are left in unsafe situations.
Thanks to the persistent work of advocates, these victims found some degree of safety and justice through the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. This was established when VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013. The protection it offers is extremely limited. H.R. 1585 would fix that, by expanding crucial protections to ensure the safety of Native American women, and entire communities.
Now H.R. 1585 now moves to the Senate for a vote. With your help, we can make sure the Senate prioritizes the safety of Native American women. Contact your Senators today and urge them to pass a strong VAWA reauthorization that expands tribal jurisdiction and includes Savana’s Act!

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Quaker lobby organization

This link will help you create and sign a letter about VAWA reauthorization, and send it to your Congressional representatives. https://cqrcengage.com/fcnl/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=499064

Following are some photos from the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Rally on the Iowa State Capitol grounds in Des Moines yesterday.

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