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Bills addressing missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women signed into law

Joanne Sakar and Natasha Gamache, supporters of Veronica Abouchuk sit at Brian Smith's arraignment (Oct. 2019) wearing red hands over their faces, symbols of a nationwide movement to improve the startling statistics about missing and murdered indigenous women.
Joanne Sakar and Natasha Gamache, supporters of Veronica Abouchuk sit at Brian Smith's arraignment (Oct. 2019) wearing red hands over their faces, symbols of a nationwide movement to improve the startling statistics about missing and murdered indigenous women.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 6:55 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - President Trump signed two bills into law Saturday that address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women. Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act are two bills led by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

According to a release from Murkowski’s office, the bills ensure Alaska Natives and survivors have a voice in developing methods to end these types of crimes. The bills work to improve the federal government’s response through increased coordination, development of best practices, and the creation of a joint commission on violent crime.

Through Savanna’s Act, tribal governments will have improved access to necessary law enforcement databases in cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It also increases coordination among all levels of law enforcement, according to the release.

A commission of tribal and federal stakeholders is established under the Not Invisible Act, which according to the release will make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice about how to address disappearances and respond to the violent crime against and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The bill also designates an official to coordinate efforts across agencies.

Murkowski says the legislation is a huge milestone in the effort to provide justice to victims and families across the nation. “I’m proud that we have elevated this issue from raising awareness, to action—having created enduring policy to make real, lasting change,” said Senator Murkowski in a statement. “And the way to make that necessary change is through partnerships, coordination, and pooling resources—by working to solve this problem, together. Today we are reminding these families, they matter and their loved ones who are lost matter.”

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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