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Departments Outline Commitment To Address Missing Or Murdered Indigenous Peoples

The Departments of Justice and the Interior today released their joint response to the Not Invisible Act Commission’s recommendations on how to combat the missing or murdered Indigenous peoples and human trafficking crisis.

The response recognizes that more must be done across the federal government to resolve this longstanding crisis and support healing from the generational traumas that Indigenous peoples have endured throughout the history of the United States.

“These recommendations are an important and necessary step toward healing the trauma, pain, and loss that Tribal communities have endured for generations,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department is committed to working with our partners at the Department of the Interior to put an end to the missing or murdered Indigenous persons and human trafficking crisis. We are deeply grateful to the Not Invisible Act commissioners and the survivors and family members of victims who testified before the Commission about their heartbreaking experiences. Those testimonies and the Commission’s recommendations will continue to guide our work.”

“Addressing violent crimes against Indigenous peoples has long been underfunded and ignored, as a cause of intergenerational trauma that has affected our communities since colonization,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Through historic efforts like the Not Invisible Act Commission, we’re identifying recommendations created by Indian Country, for Indian Country. This will ensure that epidemics like the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Crisis and Human Trafficking are addressed with the resources they demand.”

The Justice and Interior Departments’ response addresses the Commission’s areas of concern including:

•Law enforcement and investigative resources;

•Recruitment and retention of law enforcement;

•Data collection and reporting; •Cross-jurisdictional coordination; •Family and survivor resources; •Improving public safety resources; and

•Alaska-specific issues. The Not Invisible Act Commission was created by the Not Invisible Act, the enactment of which was led by Secretary Haaland during her time in Congress. The Commission included law enforcement, Tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing or murdered individuals, and survivors.

As mandated by the Act, the Commission developed recommendations for federal government actions to take on focused topics to combat violent crime against Indigenous people and within Indian lands, and to address the epidemic of missing people, and the murder or trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples, as specified under the law.

The Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime expanded the scope of allowable activities under its Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside grant program to permit Tribal communities to pay for costs related to generating awareness of individual missing persons cases involving American Indians and Alaska Native persons, supporting search efforts and coordination of Tribal, state, and federal responses to MMIP cases.

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