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Savanna’s Act Signed Into Law

A bill that aims to address the nation’s high number of missing and murdered indigenous women were signed into law by President Donald Trump on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Savanna’s Act attempts to put attention to the issue. The law will improve coordination and data collection between tribal, state, local and federal law enforcement when there are cases involving missing and murdered Native women. The new guidelines require new guidelines for federal agencies as their consultation with tribes.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said, “Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act are now the law of the land, and that means the federal government and law enforcement have more resources and clearer marching orders in the fight to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons crisis. This victory is a testament to relentless work done by Tribes, MMIW advocates, and survivors of violence who have been pushing Congress to act for years, and I’m proud to stand beside them on this historic day. But while these bills are a critical step forward, we’ve got more work to do, and I’m not going to take my foot off the gas when it comes to improving public safety across Indian Country and ending the MMIW crisis.”

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., was one of 20 bipartisan legislators who introduced the bill in 2019.

“Passage of Savanna’s Act brings us one step closer to ending this epidemic by upgrading critical data and improving communication among law enforcement,” Gianforte said. Savanna’s Act is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind from Fargo, N.D., who was killed in 2017. She was a pregnant 22-year-old Spirit Lake tribal member at the time of the attack.

The Urban Indian Health Institute reports that murder is the third leading cause of death for American Indian/ Alaska Native women. There were 5,712 cases reported of missing and murdered Indigenous females during 2016, but only 116 cases were logged in the Department of Justice’s database.

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