Republican Leaders Silence Native Voices in Efforts to Address MMIW Crisis

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Republican Leaders Silence Native Voices in Efforts to Address MMIW Crisis

The Trump administration today announced that they would be creating a task force to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), after years of Democrats calling for action on this issue. This announcement comes in the wake of several failures from high-profile Republicans to include Native communities in efforts to address the MMIW crisis.

The administration’s executive order falls short of the bipartisan Not Invisible Act which was introduced by Reps. Deb Haaland, Tom Cole, Sharice Davids, and Markwayne Mullin in May. The Not Invisible Act would center Native voices by establishing an advisory committee that includes law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal agencies, service providers, and survivors. Instead, the Trump administration is purposely excluding tribal government, tribal law enforcement, and victims’ families from holding any position on his task force.

On Friday, Attorney General William Barr introduced a plan that does not address institutional challenges and falls short of funding goals. Just a week earlier, the attorney general refused to meet with tribal leadership during a visit to Albuquerque.

Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a toned-down version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which would weaken sovereign immunity for tribes and allow convicted abusers to avoid justice in tribal courts.

DPNM Chair Marg Elliston released the following statement regarding the GOP watering down efforts to address the crisis of MMIW: 

“While we welcome action on the critical issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, these steps from the GOP are too little too late. After years of ignoring this crisis, Republicans are excluding Native communities and undermining tribal governments. These “solutions” do more to boost Republican leaders in the press than they do to make a difference in the lives of Native women. Instead of playing politics, the GOP should be working with Democrats to pass the full Violence Against Women Act, as well as bills like the Not Invisible Act.” 

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