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Montana MMIP Program Group Begins Plans

A conference call organizational meeting for the Montana Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons group took place on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Justice Department announced the creation of the MMIP regional outreach program. Officials say the program will permanently place 10 attorneys and coordinators in five regions across the country to add in the prevention and response to missing or murdered indigenous people.

Support that the program plans to provide includes assisting in the investigation of unresolved MMIP cases and related crimes; promoting communication, coordination and collaboration among federal, tribal, local and state law enforcement and non-governmental partners on MMIP issues; and programmatic support will be provided by the MMIP regional outreach program coordinator at the executive office for U.S. attorneys.

Rosa Salamanca, senior conciliation specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, said during the call that the program will try to help people connect with proper authorities.

Goals include empowering families and having a central location for all interested people.

Plans are to be an organization with an immediate response system and to build a database.

Leaders are willing to coordinate with anybody to get the program off the ground.

Lance Fourstar of Wolf Point took part in the conference.

This new program mobilizes the Justice Department’s resources to combat the crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons, which has shattered the lives of victims, their families and entire tribal communities,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a press release. “The Justice Department will continue to accelerate our efforts, in partnership with tribes, to keep their communities safe and pursue justice for American Indian and Alaska Native families.”

This MMIP program will complement the work of the Justice Department’s National Native American Outreach Services liaison, who is helping amplify the voice of crime victims in Indian country and their families as they navigate the federal criminal justice system. Further, the MMIP program will liaise with and enhance the work of the department’s tribal liaisons and Indian Country Assistant United States Attorneys throughout Indian Country, the Native American Issues coordinator and the National Indian Country Training Initiative coordinator to ensure a comprehensive response to MMIP.

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