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#mmiw  #mmiwg  #somebodysdaughter  #NotInvisible




“In 15-years of conflict in Iraq the US has suffered 4,541 fatalities.

In 2016 alone, there were 5,712 reported MMIWG cases in the US.

That should provide pause and context. We need to keep pushing on legislation until it is signed into law and ensure that Congress appropriates the funds to implement the legislation.”

 - Tom Rodgers, Executive Vice President – Global Indigenous Council.

For more than a decade, the US Department of Justice has estimated that American Indian women are around 2.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault when compared to the general population. One in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. In Canada, First Nations women are six times more likely to be the victims of homicide, while in the United States that figure increases to ten times.

Among the general population of American Indian women, 67% of rapes suffered by Native women are committed by non-Natives, 80% of sex crimes on reservations are committed by non-Natives, and according to the US Department of Justice, 86% of all reported sex crimes against Native women are perpetrated by non-Natives.

According to the National Crime Information Center, nearly 6,000 MMIWG cases were cataloged in 2016, a figure widely considered to be low, due to underreporting and inadequate data collection. Savanna’s Act, introduced to the 115th Congress by former Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and co-sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), was intended to address some of the jurisdictional paralysis and failings in existing law and its application in respect to Indian Country and specifically the MMIW epidemic. Despite passage in the Senate, the Act was blocked in the House Judiciary Committee by retired Chairman, Representative Bob Goodlatte. In December 2018, Senator Murkowski committed to an alliance of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC), the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA), and the Global Indigenous Council (GIC) that she would reintroduce Savanna’s Act.


With Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) as co-sponsor, Senator Murkowski fulfilled that commitment the week of January 28, 2019. The same week, Senator Murkowski co-sponsored the Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act and the Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act with Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN).

Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2020 Democrati

Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate and a strong supporter of MMIW legislation and the billboard campaign.

The three bills introduced by Senators Murkowski, Udall, Smith and Cortez-Masto incorporate the recommendations made by the GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance that were discussed with Senator Murkowski, Senator Udall and their staffs in December 2018, along with Senator Booker, Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Chairman and Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and their staffs. Support came from the offices of Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Diane Feinstein, and Senator James Lankford.


In February 2019, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act which calls for a GAO report into the FBI and federal law enforcement operations, criteria and existing protocols in relation to MMIW cases, which is essential to establishing the most pressing needs that must be addressed in what, to date, have been largely ineffective law enforcement responses to the MMIW epidemic. The RMTLC first advocated for a GAO report at an MMIW presentation during its quarterly meeting in Helena, Montana, on January 31. Senator Tester took up that call and delivered the bill.

In April 2019, Senator Tester and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) committed to championing the amendments to Savanna’s Act advocated for by the GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance, and to fulfilling that commitment by securing the inclusion of those amendments in the final bill. In the House, Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, and Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-KS), joined their colleagues in Congress who are supporting the GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance’s amendments to Savanna’s Act.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM),


Deb Haaland


one of the first

Native American women in history to be elected to Congress,

with one of our MMIWG campaign boards

at the

US Capitol.


Senator Tester also joined Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in introducing the Not Invisible Act of 2019, legislation aimed at engaging law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers in responding to the unique challenges of MMIW cases and improving coordination across federal agencies. The bill reflects several of the core positions the RMTLC included in a draft Executive Order presented to Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. This bipartisan bill establishes an advisory committee of local, tribal and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice on best practices to combat the epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.


In combination, the reintroduced Savanna’s Act with our amendments, the Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act, and the Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act establish “standard response and investigative protocols that reflect the unique circumstances and challenges of MMIWG cases,”; ensure “access to culturally appropriate victim services for victims and their families”; and “increased interagency coordination.” A priority for the tribal alliance was to strengthen and extend the jurisdiction of tribal courts to cover MMIWG crimes, which is at the heart of the Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act.

Black Hills MMIW at SCOTUS

These bills provide the foundation to implement the fundamental tenets proposed by the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, and Global Indigenous Council:

1 - To disentangle the jurisdictional paralysis through interagency coordination between federal, state and tribal law enforcement agencies. Life and death cannot wait for bureaucracy. Interagency coordination includes establishing standard protocols that reflect the unique circumstances and challenges of MMIWG cases, including “cold case” investigative methodology. When a child or teen is abducted, the first 12 to 24 hours are crucial; in the general population, 75% of missing children are killed within 3-hours of abduction, so why is the disappearance of Native children and youth treated differently, particularly by tribal law enforcement on reservations, as exposed in recent tragedies on the Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet nations? If any law enforcement agency waits 72-hours to activate a full-scale search, it will invariably be looking for a body, not the recovery of a missing Native minor or woman.

“Ashley’s case was not taken seriously from the very beginning. Law enforcement let Ashley down because they did not have proper training, nor did they follow protocol when dealing with her case. Unfortunately, Ashley’s story is not unique but the same as many other MMIW.

Ashley had dreams and she had goals! Being a missing and murdered indigenous woman was not one of them.”

 - Kimberly Loring Heavy Runner,    

Sister of Ashley Loring Heavy Runner, a 20-year-old Blackfeet    

tribal member who has been missing since June 12, 2017.    

2 – Establish MMIWG Tribal liaison outlets that serve three critical functions:

        a.  Provide a confidential environment where tribal and community members can share information on assaults and abductions in private without having to engage with standard law enforcement agencies. The liaison office would be the conduit to pass information to law enforcement. Tribal members would be empowered to share information in a culturally appropriate setting, and in their own languages. These witnesses will not have to interact with law enforcement unless and until a prosecution proceeds relative to the information shared with the liaison office.

        b.  The liaison offices would be a point of contact and, in a sense, a refuge for victims’ families. Law enforcement agencies are not organized to provide support to victims’ families; a victim’s family does not want to hear “it’s an ongoing investigation and so we can’t share anything.” Victim’s families want a point of contact who will listen, support, and advocate for them.

        c. Our focus is to reduce and stem this tragedy; there are no statistics, only human begins who are victims. When survivors are found and rescued, it is essential that mental health treatment is available – treatment that is culturally oriented, as well as embodying the latest, most effective mental health practices. 

“Now the legislation has been introduced, we must work it to secure its passage into law.” 

 - A. Gay Kingman, Executive Director, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association.    

“I want to thank the Global Indigenous Council for its leadership and for bringing together the alliance of tribal organizations to push for action.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).



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Bipartisan Support Grows from 2020 Presidential Candidates and Members of Congress for the Global Indigenous Council’s Efforts on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) Crisis.

With the Blackfeet Nation, the Global Indigenous Council recently held the first-ever MMIW Tribunal in the US. The statements of 2020 Presidential candidates and Members of Congress for the tribunal and the continued work of the GIC-RMTLC-GPTCA alliance to secure meaningful legislation to address the MMIW tragedy can be read in full here.

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Belinda Bull Shoe (Blackfeet) who MC'd the MMIW Tribunal held at the Blackfeet Community College in Browning, MT

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Chairman Tim Davis of the Blackfeet Nation addresses the MMIW Tribunal held at the Blackfeet Community College in Browning, MT

Ambassaor Cathy Russell

Catherine M. Russell  - United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues  Ambassador Russell represented Vice President Joe Biden at the MMIW Tribunal in Browning, MT.

"Missing and murdered women is

a grim, unsolved problem."

SENATOR TESTER TAKES UP OUR ADVOCACY FOR A GAO REPORT INTO MMIW BY INTRODUCING  Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act. Read the bill and Senator Tester's comments here: 


to take executive action on the MMIW issue.  Read the letter and draft executive order here: 

Billings Gazette article here

Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act: Read it here

A leaked landmark Canadian government report has concluded that three decades of missing and murdered Indigenous women amounts to a “Canadian genocide”
Read NYT article here


Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, gives the opening statement in the first hearing ever held by Congress on the MMIW tragedy. 

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Read about it here:

CHIEF JUDY WILSON: “Wherever man camps are set up, we face exponential increases in sexual violence.”
South Dakota, Montana, British Columbia - the location may change but the devastation remains the same for tribal communities from extractive industry "man camps":

Senator Daines with Tina HasThe Eagle

Senator Daines marches with Tina HasThe Eagle and Theresa Brien of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)

Senator Steve Daines  after being honored by the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council for his committment to MMIW.

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