ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

President Trump forms task force on missing and murdered Indigenous women

082019.N.FF.MMIW.2.JPG
A rally hosted by the Fargo-Moorhead Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force is held Aug. 19 in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Fargo on the two-year anniversary of the murder of 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Forum file photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday, Nov. 26, creating a national task force to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

"It’s a tremendous problem," the president said. "It’s been going on for a long time — many, many decades, beyond that. And we’re going to address it."

With Attorney General William Barr and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt taking the lead, the task force, titled Operation Lady Justice, will develop a strategy to end the "terrible situation," Trump said. The Justice Department will also issue grants to improve safety in Indigenous communities.

In a separate announcement last week, Barr unveiled a plan to help address the crisis, in which the Justice Department will funnel $1.5 million to hire coordinators to improve the law enforcement response to MMIW cases and conduct an analysis of its missing-persons database. In 2016 alone, there were 5,712 reported cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in the U.S. That figure is low, though, because of inadequate data collection, according to the Global Indigenous Council.

Last week, the U.S. Senate advanced Savanna's Act, a bipartisan bill that seeks to address gaps in data collection and law enforcement related to the crisis, to the floor for consideration. The bill is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a Fargo Native American woman who was murdered in 2017.

ADVERTISEMENT

RELATED:

With Trump's order, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he hopes Congress will advance legislation such as Savanna's Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
“Native Americans face some of the highest rates of violence in our country, an issue the federal government has not historically done enough to help correct," he said in a statement.

Also serving on the task force will be the FBI director, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, the director of the Office on Violence Against Women and the director of justice services in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, among others.

"We will leverage every resource we have to bring safety to our tribal communities, and we will not waver in this mission," Trump said.

What to read next
As the agent was inspecting the unique-looking pen, an explosion went off. It was determined the pen was a "pen gun." When the tip of the pen was unscrewed, a .22 caliber shell casing was found, according to court records.
The Cowbot would be a way to mow down thistles as a way to control the spread of weeds, "like a Roomba for a pasture," says Eric Buchanan, a renewable energy scientist at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minnesota.
The Red River Valley Water Supply Project will sue farmland owners for eminent domain if they don’t sign easements before July 8, 2022. Farmers say the project is paying one-tenth what others pay for far smaller oil, gas and water pipelines.
Attendees to a recent meeting at a small country church on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota found armed guards at the church entrance. Then someone saw an AR-15, prompting a visit by the sheriff. It's the latest development in a battle for the soul of Singsaas Church near Astoria, South Dakota. The conflict pits a divisive new pastor and his growing nondenominational congregation, who revived the old church, and many descendants of the church's old families, worried about the future of a pioneer legacy.