Reps. Huffman, Grijalva, Newhouse Introduce Resolution to Designate National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
San Rafael, CA – Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02) joined Congressmen Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04) in introducing H. Res. 353, a resolution to designate May 5, 2023 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
CLICK HERE for full text of the resolution.
Data reveals that Indigenous communities experience violence at disproportionate rates in this country, which impacts women, girls, elders, and two-spirit relatives. The resolution demonstrates the lawmakers’ solidarity with the communities and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and calls on the people of the United States to commemorate the lives of the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian victims of violence whose cases are both documented and undocumented in public records and the media.
“Although the epidemic of missing indigenous people spans the country, these tragic crimes are often ignored. Tribal members in my district have been putting in the hard work to protect their people, and last year held the first-of-its-kind MMIWP Summit – but they can’t do it all alone,” said Rep. Huffman. “We have to shine a light on this crisis, and by designating May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for MMIW, we can call attention to this pervasive issue and get tribal communities the focus and support needed to end this injustice.”
“This resolution recognizes the untold numbers of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or murdered, as well as the many lives that have been impacted by their absence,” said House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Grijalva. “May 5th serves as an important reminder to renew our efforts here in Congress and under Secretary Haaland’s leadership to make sure tribal governments have the access to resources they need to address this crisis of violence. I want to thank Congressman Newhouse for co-leading this resolution and for helping to keep this issue at the forefront of our national conscience.”
“Indigenous women and girls living on reservations experience murder rates of more than 10 times the national average, and more than 4 out of 5 Indigenous women have experienced violence. These rates are unacceptable," said Rep. Newhouse. “We must do more to ensure these crimes are solved and no longer under-reported or under-investigated. Designating May 5th as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will help shine a light on these heartbreaking tragedies and serve as a reminder to Congress that we must continue to support our indigenous communities as we work to bring them the justice they deserve.”
The lawmakers were joined by Reps. McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Johnson (R-S.D.), Cole (R-Okla.), Bice (R-Okla.), Stauber (R-Minn.), Pocan (D-Wis.), Davids (D-Kan.), DelBene (D-Wash.), Smith (D-Wash.), LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Smith (R-Neb.), Salazar (R-Fla.), Rosendale (R-Mont.), Armstrong (R-N.D.), Stewart (R-Utah), Joyce (R-Ohio), Moore (D-Wis), Matsui (D-Calif.), Gallego (D-Ariz.), Porter (D-Calif.), Norton Holmes (D-DC), McCollum (D-Minn.), Bonamici (D-Ore.), Stansbury (D-N.M.), Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Brownley (D-Calif.), Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Case (D-Hawaii), Fernandez (D-N.M.), Pingree (D-Maine), Kilmer (D-Wash.), Schrier (D-Wash.), Stanton (D-Ariz.), Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), and Soto (D-Fla.).
The resolution is also supported by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, Yakama Nation, Seattle Indian Health Board, Urban Indian Health Institute, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
In the 116th Congress the House Natural Resources Committee held the first-ever House hearing to examine the MMIW crisis. In October 2020, following these hearings, Savanna’s Act, which requires the federal government to account for the numbers of missing and murdered Native Americans, and the Not Invisible Act, which establishes an advisory commission of survivors and family members to address missing and murdered Native Americans, were signed into law.
In April 2021, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a new Missing and Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services to analyze and solve missing and murdered cases involving Indigenous Peoples.
Statements of Support
"The Colville Tribes appreciates and supports the efforts of Rep. Dan Newhouse, Ranking Member Grijalva, and others in Congress to keep attention focused on the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women. Despite receiving greater attention in recent years, the problem persists as Native women still suffer violence at rates much higher than the national average. The Colville Tribes would welcome a MMIW law enforcement presence specifically dedicated to serve the Pacific Northwest." – Jarred-Michael Erickson, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) commends the efforts taken today by Representative Dan Newhouse and Representative Raúl Grijalva and other members of the House of Representatives to recognize May 5, 2023, as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Girls,” said NCAI Treasurer Shannon Holsey. “We need new collaborations to engage with Indigenous women, families, communities, and governments to remove systemic barriers and identify solutions centered on women’s health and safety. Native women are victimized at rates of more than ten times that of other women and there is no time to waste to not only raise awareness of this epidemic, but to act and save the lives of our mothers, sisters, and daughters and today’s resolution rightfully calls on more hard work to be done to bring this ongoing crisis to an end.” – Shannon Holsey, President of Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, Co-Chair of NCAI’s Violence Against Women Task Force, and Treasurer of NCAI
“The Yakama Nation appreciates and supports the diligence of members of Congress, particularly Congressman Dan Newhouse, at increasing the awareness of the continued crisis of violence against indigenous people. While the collection of data is important, we must now implement sound and effective policies and programs to combat this violence and we urge that funds and personnel are made available at every level of government so that those committing these acts are prosecuted and all possible corrective actions are taken to protect indigenous people, especially our women and girls." – Gerald Lewis, Chairman, Yakama Nation Tribal Council
“We are grateful to Representative Newhouse for introducing his MMIW resolution and for his efforts to bring attention to this crisis. Holding this space in remembrance for families and relatives is important for healing in our communities. We must all take meaningful action every day to address this crisis and uplift Indigenous voices and leadership.” – Abigail Echo-Hawk, Executive Vice-President of Seattle Indian Health Board and Director of Urban Indian Health Institute
“The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) recognizes and honors the countless American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing and provides a space for families and survivors who continue to raise awareness and seek justice, healing, and lasting change. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) thanks Representatives Grijalva and Newhouse for designating May 5 as the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG.” – Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC)
“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has been aggressively exercising its sovereign powers pursuant to the McGirt decision and tribal VAWA provisions to protect the women and children on our reservation lands. This resolution marks another step towards addressing the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children. For far too long their faces, their stories and their pain has been ignored. So it is right and just that Congress set aside a day to remember those who have been lost and those who still need our help.” – Principal Chief David Hill, Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Cosponsor Statements (in alphabetical order)
“There is a crisis of violence against Native American women and girls. It’s critically important to raise awareness and help bring an end to these heartbreaking acts of violence against Native Americans. The families and communities deserve answers.” – Rep. Armstrong
“I strongly express my support for the designation of May 5, 2023, as the ‘National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’. Not only are Indigenous people disproportionately the victims of violence in America, but also in Oklahoma. A recent study by the Urban Indian Health Institute rated Oklahoma in the top 10 states for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We must continue working to bring awareness to these heartbreaking tragedies so that affected families may find justice.” – Rep. Bice
“I am grateful to Rep. Dan Newhouse and Rep. Raul Grijalva for casting a light on a little known but very alarming crisis in my Hawai‘i: the plight of missing and murdered women and girls who are kanaka maoli – of Native Hawaiian ancestry. According to a report by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women, more than a quarter of the missing girls in Hawai‘i are Native Hawaiian, and 43 percent of sex trafficking cases in Waikiki involve Native Hawaiian girls. While their measure rightly calls attention to this crisis by proposing to designate May 5th of each year as “The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls”, it also demonstrates solidarity with the families and friends of victims and recognizes that much more work must be done to deal with what is a national crisis.” – Rep. Case
“American Indian and Alaska Native women have been disproportionately targeted by dangerous predators and experience murder rates of more than 10 times the national average. Because of this, bringing awareness to the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls crisis and providing for additional resources to combat violence in Indian Country is imperative. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important resolution so that we never forget this critical fight.” – Rep. Cole, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and Member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma
“The silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women continues to wreak havoc on Native communities throughout our country. Currently, murder rates of Native women are ten times the national average, with homicide being the leading cause of death. I thank Representative Newhouse and Representative Grijalva who are working to ensure all Native women and children can live safely, without fear.” – Rep. Davids
“There have been an alarming number of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the U.S., and we know too many of these cases also go unreported and are therefore uncounted entirely. In Washington state, more than four times as many Indigenous women go missing than their white counterparts, yet these cases receive little or no media attention. Although Washington state created the nation’s first alert system for missing Indigenous people to help address this issue, we must do more to reverse this national trend. This resolution is a critical step toward raising awareness and providing justice for Indigenous women in Washington state and across the nation.” – Rep. DelBene
“I stand in solidarity with the mourning relatives of the missing and murdered Indigenous women in New Mexico and across our country. I want them to know we see their pain, and they are not alone. Sadly, Native women, girls, and relatives are murdered at a rate more than 10 times the national average. Together we can work to end violence against Native people and build healthy and thriving communities. The reauthorization of the 2022 Violence Against Women Act improved coordination among law enforcement, and provided additional resources for Indigenous families and communities. I’m proud to cosponsor this resolution and recognize May 5th as the ‘National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.’ Their families deserve healing. Our missing and murdered sisters and relatives deserve justice.” – Rep. Fernández, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs
“Much work remains to be done to solve the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. As a long-time leader on this issue, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution recognizing the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We must continue working together on a bipartisan basis to ensure Tribes have the resources they need to address this crisis.” – Rep. Gallego
“American Indian women living on reservations face murder rates more than 10 times the national average and four in five American Indian women will experience violence in their lifetime. These statistics are unacceptable. I’m proud to shine a light on these tragedies and will continue to advocate for vulnerable Native populations—this day of awareness is much needed.” – Rep. Johnson
“Tragically, many Indigenous women and girls have experienced violence, exploitation, and even death. This demands our collective attention and action. By designating a National Day of Awareness, we honor the memory of those we have lost, support the families left behind, and reaffirm our commitment to addressing the root causes of this crisis. Congress must continue to advocate for comprehensive solutions that empower Indigenous communities, improve public safety, and ensure that every missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girl is not forgotten.” – Rep. Kilmer
“Indigenous women and girls are often at greater risk of harm and abuse. They experience murder rates far above the national average. Designating May 5th as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls I hope will help motivate action to help their plight.” – Rep. LaMalfa
“I join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to recognize May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Girls. Too many of my Native sisters have been taken from their communities and their families are left with no answers or justice. Today and every day, I will keep working to build on the efforts Congress has taken to address this epidemic of violence and save lives.” – Rep. Moore
“The disproportionate rate of violence against Indigenous women is staggering, with native women facing murder rates more than 10 times the national average. As the lead Democrat on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I have been proud to secure much needed resources at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service to stop these terrible tragedies. But there is still much more to be done to protect native women. This resolution not only recognizes and sheds a light on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls epidemic in Maine and across the country but signals our renewed dedication to strengthening federal protections for Tribal communities.” – Rep. Pingree
“Indigenous women are murdered at a rate ten times higher than the national average. On the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we must recommit to providing the resources needed to address this disproportionate level of violence facing Indigenous women." – Rep. Pocan
“On this National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, we once again acknowledge that Native women continue to be disproportionately likely to experience sexual assault and violence in their lifetimes. I stand in solidarity with American Indian and Alaska Native communities demanding justice, and I echo their calls for the federal government to do more to end this epidemic and work in partnership with tribal communities to get them the support they need.” – Rep. Porter
“Too many women in America find themselves living in fear of becoming a victim of violence and predatory behavior. This is especially true in Washington State, where Native American women are murdered or go missing at the second-highest rate in the country. This is a statistic we should be doing everything in our power to change for the tribes in our Eastern Washington community. I’m proud to help lead this resolution to stand with the families of every victim and reaffirm our commitment to ending this nationwide crisis before another innocent life is lost.” – Rep. Rodgers
“Indigenous women are murdered and disappear at rates that far exceed other communities. Designating May 5th as ‘National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ will cast a light on appalling tragedy and help mitigate the suffering of indigenous women who desperately need our support.” – Rep. Rosendale
“American Indian and Alaskan Native women face disproportionate rates of violence, with more than 1.5 million of these women experiencing violence in their lifetime. By designating May 5th as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls, we hope to increase awareness of these serious disparities and call greater attention to the work that still needs to be done. I am honored to join Representative Newhouse and bring attention to this crisis.” – Rep. Schrier
“Indigenous women in Washington State are about four times as likely as a white woman to go missing and often these crimes go under-reported and under-investigated. This is an unacceptable reality that we must do better to address. In my district, the Urban Indian Health Institute in Seattle provides the leading research on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). We must continue to put funding behind these organizations to advance solutions for the families and communities that have been devastated by this crisis. I’m proud to support this resolution to designate May 5th, 2023, as the “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” to shed more light on this urgent crisis.” – Rep. Smith
“The epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is one of the most under-reported, under-discussed, and under-funded tragedies in America today. Bringing awareness to this silent crisis–and ensuring the federal government treat it with the attention it deserves–is the first step towards delivering justice.” – Rep. Stanton
“As a former law enforcement officer, I know that our Native American communities face disproportionately high rates of violence, including in my home state of Minnesota. I co-sponsored this resolution to raise awareness of the heartbreaking crisis of high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and to recognize the additional work needed to keep them safe.” – Rep. Stauber
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