Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Pres. Biden issues proclamation on MMIP Awareness Day, May 5th

Families, advocates and government officials mark day of awareness for Native victims

 


Indigenous women have been victimized at outrageous rates, with federal figures showing that Native American and Indigenous women have experienced the highest homicide rates in the United States and Canada. An Associated Press investigation in 2018 found that nobody knows the precise number of cases of missing and murdered Native American women nationwide because many go unreported, others aren’t well documented, and no government database specifically tracks them. Reported statistics in Canada are the same, if not worse.

President Biden released this proclamation on May 4, “Today, thousands of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native Americans continue to cry out for justice and healing. On Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we remember the Indigenous people who we have lost to murder and those who remain missing and commit to working with Tribal Nations to ensure any instance of a missing or murdered person is met with swift and effective action.

Our failure to allocate the necessary resources and muster the necessary commitment to addressing and preventing this ongoing tragedy not only demeans the dignity and humanity of each person who goes missing or is murdered, it sends pain and shockwaves across our Tribal communities. Our treaty and trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations require our best efforts, and our concern for the well-being of these fellow citizens require us to act with urgency. To this end, our Government must strengthen its support and collaboration with Tribal communities…

My Administration is fully committed to working with Tribal Nations to address the disproportionately high number of missing or murdered Indigenous people, as well as increasing coordination to investigate and resolve these cases and ensure accountability.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2021, as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. I call on all Americans and ask all levels of government to support Tribal governments and Tribal communities’ efforts to increase awareness of the issue of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives through appropriate programs and activities.”

Secretary of the Dept of Interior, Deb Haaland stated, “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities, but the missing and murdered Indigenous peoples crisis is one that Native communities have faced since the dawn of colonization,” she said as she joined the ceremony virtually. “For too long, this issue has been swept under the rug with the lack of urgency, attention and funding.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also issued a statement, saying the Justice Department is “committed to finding lasting solutions to the public safety challenges tribal communities encounter and to protecting them from violence, abuse and exploitation.”

 

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