November 14, 2018

In the Wake of a Newly Released Report on Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Warren Calls for Better Resources and Media Coverage

Urban Indian Health Institute Issued a Report Addressing the Ongoing Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Urban Native Communities.

Text of the Report (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called for better data and reporting to help address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in urban Native areas.

A data report released today by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board, identifies 506 cases of urban missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, including 98 cases with an “unknown status,” across 71 urban cities. The report raises awareness on the scarcity of data and the lack of proper media coverage. The report notes that due to the lack of quality data, the statistics available are likely undercounts, demonstrating a critical need for more and better data. Equally, the report illustrates a need for more media coverage of cases on missing and murdered Native American and Alaska Native women and girls in urban Native areas specifically. 

“This painstakingly-researched report is a much-needed wake-up call to policymakers and officials across the country,” the senator wrote. “The report confirms that the United States faces a crisis when it comes to the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and the lack of accurate data and appropriate media coverage has played a crucial role in the epidemic.”

The lack of tribal access to data has been an ongoing issue in Indian Country that creates barriers for tribal nations to better serve their communities. In October 2017, Senator Warren was an original cosponsor of Savanna’s Act, a bill introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). The legislation would improve the federal government’s response to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women through proper data collection and requires that tribal nations be consulted to ensure the most accurate improvements and access to these databases are made. The UIHI report makes multiple policy recommendations, including an improvement to Savanna’s Act.

Senator Warren has also worked to raise public awareness of the epidemic, and cosponsored a Senate resolution that marked May 5, 2018, as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.