May 03, 2022

During MMIW Week of Action, Cortez Masto Pushes Administration to Implement Her Bipartisan Laws to Protect Native Women

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Week of Action calls on all of us to address the crisis of violence against Native communities

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) led Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in pushing the administration to implement her bipartisan Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act—which were both signed into law in October 2020—to curb the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). The administration has missed several key implementation deadlines, and the senators are specifically demanding that the administration share weekly updates with Congress to ensure that progress is being made.

“For far too long, the loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous people went without answers, access to resources, or justice,” said the Senators. “Congress acted to rectify this nation-wide problem with legislation, and we request an update on the implementation of the provisions outlined in the Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act. ...We remained concerned by the lack of progress shown and our constituents deserve to know the status of your work.”

Senator Cortez Masto is one of the strongest champions for Native Americans in the Senate, and she has led bipartisan efforts with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to protect Native communities. The Not Invisible Act creates a point person in the Bureau of Indian Affairs to improve coordination of violent crime prevention across federal agencies and establishes the commission that DOI and DOJ continue to work to assemble, comprised of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors, who will ensure that the Departments work together to protect Native women and to address the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Savanna’s Act, named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, requires federal law enforcement to create standard guidelines on responding to these crimes and increase data collection on them.

The senator has also repeatedly called on the administration to do more to address the epidemic of violence against Native women and girls, including securing federal funding to protect Native communities, urging the administration to put together a plan to address this issue, and requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the federal response to this crisis.

The full text of the letter is available HERE.