“Whether it’s a missing family member or a homicide investigation, these efforts will be all hands-on deck.” -U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland.
TVSLE, Oklahoma – During the Inter-tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes meeting in July, Principal Chief David Hill along with each tribal leader from the FCT signed a resolution supporting federal and state efforts to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s crisis.
In early April, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the formation of a new Missing and Murdered Unit with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to build on the work of the Operation Lady Justice that was formed in 2019. The MMU will help pull the full weight of the federal government into investigating these cases along with marshal law enforcement resources.
The unit will designate new leadership and support roles including a Unit Chief responsible for stakeholder collaboration, continued policy development and oversee performance of the unit. There will be designated positions using federal funds to support the investigative needs of the MMU including the collection and analysis of performance data and coordination of services with victims’ families.
“Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades. Far too often murders and missing persons cases in Indian Country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated,” Haaland said. “The new MMU unit will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe, and provide closure for families.”
The National Crime Information Center has recorded approximately 1,500 American Indian and Alaskan Natives missing across the U.S. and approximately 2,700 cases of murder and non-negligent homicide offenses have been reported to the Federal Governments Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
“Whether it’s a missing family member or a homicide investigation, these efforts will be all hands-on deck,” Haaland stated. “We are fully committed to assisting tribal communities with these investigations and the MMU will leverage every resource available to be a force-multiplier in preventing these cases from becoming cold case investigations.”
Cases remain unsolved due to the lack of investigative resources available. The MMU will immediately begin working with tribal, BIA, and FBI investigators on active missing and murdered investigations.
To report a MMU case, call: 1-833-560-2065 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit a tip text keyword BIAMMU and your tip to: 847411.
Current MMU offices:
Rapid City, SD
The resolution can be viewed at http://www.fivecivilizedtribes.org/Docs/Resolutions/2021/ITC%20R21-21.pdf.
More information regarding MMU can be viewed at https://www.bia.gov/bia/ojs/missing-murdered-unit.