Reps. Huffman, Schiff Introduce Bill to Address Crisis of Missing & Murdered Indigenous People, Promote Communication Between Tribal & State/Local Law Enforcement

March 26, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02) and Adam Schiff (CA-30) introduced the Tribal Community Protection Act, legislation to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) on tribal lands by encouraging record sharing between tribal and state/local law enforcement.

Of the missing persons included in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), 3.5% were identified as American Indian and Alaska Native – more than three times their percentage of the U.S. population. Complicated jurisdictional overlaps between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies exacerbate the problem.

“The tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People is an epidemic, and jurisdictional red tape and communication breakdowns fuel this crisis. Tribes in my district have been putting in the hard work to protect their people and lead on this issue – by which I am tremendously proud of and inspired – but they can’t do it alone,” said Rep. Huffman. “My bill with Representative Schiff will help bridge the gap between tribes and local law enforcement so they can work together to keep tribal communities safe.” 

"The violence facing our indigenous communities, particularly women and girls, is a crisis we cannot ignore," said Rep. Schiff. "With the complex nature of government-to-government relationships, sometimes this violence against women and indigenous people can fall through the cracks, or lead to delays and inaction. Our bill aims to bridge this gap by promoting cooperation and information sharing between tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. This will not only save lives but also help keep our tribal communities safe and ensure that those who break the law are held to account.”

“Tribal communities continue to face the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people every day. Commonsense reforms to support and prevent the disappearance of our people from their communities are vital to help end this crisis. Rep. Schiff’s and Rep. Huffman's bill is one of those commonsense solutions which promotes information sharing between states and localities with Tribes. The National Indian Health Board is proud to support this bill which works to address the ongoing crisis of our missing and murdered Indigenous people,” said Chief William Smith, Chairman of the National Indian Health Board.

The Tribal Community Protection Act would create a funding incentive through Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to states and localities that both:

  • Submit written notification to tribes about restraining orders (ROs) and temporary restraining orders (TROs) so that they can be enforced by tribal law enforcement on tribal land, and
  • Accept and enforce tribal ROs and TROs, in turn.

The Tribal Community Protection Act is supported by the National Congress of American Indians, National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Indian Health Board, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition.

The Tribal Community Protection Act is cosponsored by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Andrea Salinas (OR-06), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), and Dina Titus (NV-01).

To read the full bill text, click HERE.