May 5 Marks National Murdered and Missing American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day

On Friday May 3, 2019, President Trump signed a new proclamation declaring May 5 as a national day of awareness for murdered and missing American Indians and Alaska Natives. The White House proclamation coincided with a similar resolution passed by the United States Senate that declared May 5 as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. That resolution, S.Res.144, was introduced by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and agreed to under unanimous consent on Thursday May 2.

Both the Senate Resolution and the White House Proclamation cite the disproportionately high rates of violence and assault in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, especially as they impact Native women. The documents also bring awareness to the tremendous lack of federal resources for prevention and education, including for accurate surveillance and reporting of murdered and missing Native women in state and federal databases.

Earlier this year, in a report by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), researchers found that of the 5,712 cases of murdered and missing indigenous women reported in 2016, only 116 of them were logged by the Department of Justice in its national database. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.5 million American Indian and Alaska Native women are reported to experience violence in their lifetimes.

While neither the White House Proclamation nor the Senate Resolution include new funding or technical assistance resources to address the scourge of sexual and intimate partner violence in Indian Country, they represent a positive step towards bringing greater national recognition of these issues.

 

To access the White House Proclamation, click HERE.

To access the Senate Resolution, click HERE.

To access the report on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, click HERE.