Catherine Cortez Masto Intros Bill to Address Missing and Murdered Native American Women
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) has reintroduced bipartisan legislation to combat the epidemic of murdered and missing Native American women and girls by improving the federal government's response to addressing the crisis. There is surprisingly little data on missing and murdered indigenous woman despite American Indian and Alaska Native women experiencing higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault than any other population of women in the U.S. One consequence of this reality is that domestic and sexual violence occurs on a spectrum of abusive behavior and can include abduction and murder. Given the complicated and tense mesh of federal, state and tribal law -- as well as entrenched racism towards indigenous people in America -- cases continue to fall through the cracks. “It is long past time that Congress took action to help curb the tragic epidemic of violence toward Native American women,” said Cortez Masto. Her bill, which she introduced with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would increase the coordination among all levels of law enforcement, improve data collection and information sharing, and empower tribal governments with the resources they need in cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls wherever they occur. The bill, Savanna’s Act, is named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Spirit Lake Tribe who vanished in August in Fargo, ND while eight months pregnant. Her body was found days later in the Red River. The bill was killed last year by former Republican VA Congressman Bob Goodlatte as his last act before leaving Congress. More here.