Savanna's Act

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs / U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

 

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs advanced two bills this week that aim to beef up law enforcement’s response to the missing persons crisis in Indian Country.

Native advocates and the Blackfeet Nation late last week held what is being called the first-ever Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Tribunal in the U.S. The testimony from the families of missing and murdered Native people will be delivered to Congressional lawmakers in a push for policy change. Most family members focused on their frustrations with law enforcement.

A woman uses chalk to write the words "No more missing women".words 'No more missing sisters' at Vancouvers Womens Memorial March
Jen Castro / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

July is the second month in a row that two federal agencies have failed to provide input on five bills that address missing and murdered indigenous people, effectively stalling the bills.

Advocates say peoples’ lives hang in the balance.

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Interior were supposed to submit guidance in June on a series of bills that include Savanna’s Act, which would increase coordination between tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies.


Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester spoke on the U.S. Senate floor Tuesday urging his colleagues to pass a handful of federal bills aimed at addressing what’s been called a crisis of missing and murdered Native American women and girls.

At least 500 indigenous women have either been murdered or have disappeared from 71 U.S. cities, according to a first-of-its-kind report from a Native American health group.