Washington State Creates 1st Alert System for Missing Indigenous People

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Washington governor. Jay Inslee signed a bill that creates the nation’s first statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people, similar to the Amber Alert system, according to published news reports

Both the House and Senate unanimously passed the bill.The Associated Press reported the story

According to the news outlet, the law creates a system similar in nature to Amber Alerts or silver alerts that are used nationally when a child, vulnerable adult, or both, go missing. 

Thursday is the “Battle of the Bands” Signing ceremonyInslee signed it at the Tulip Resort Casino. Many cheered. He also signed several other bills related to tribal issues.

“Compared to the rest of the state’s population, Indigenous women comprise a disproportionate number of missing people,”Inslee claimed, in part CNN reported. “For women who are found, this bill will provide treatment so that they can start to recover from the trauma of their experience.”

Currently, there are 114 missing people as of March 28, according to the Washington State Patrol Missing Native American Person’s website.

Over the years, many families of the missing and activists have felt that not enough resources were being used to locate their loved ones, CNN reported. 

More recently, federal and state officials have stepped up their efforts and have acknowledged the crisis of violence against Native Americans. However, some advocates still argue that more needs to be done, the news outlet said. 

Many hope this bill will help bring renewed hope to a silent crisis that has plagued the nation.“It’s not just an Indian issue, it’s not just an Indian responsibility. Our sisters, our aunties, our grandmothers are going missing every day,”  said Democratic Rep. Debra Lekanoff, the chief sponsor of the bill, and the only Native American lawmaker currently serving in the Washington state Legislature, the AP reported. 

Lekanoff, who is a member of the Tlingit tribe, said she was “proud to say that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s and People’s Alert System came from the voices of our Native American leaders,”The news outlet stated.

She stated that the bill “removes our hand to hear the unheard screamings, it takes the hand off the Washington State Patrol.” It brings together all of our governing bodies to collaborate, to take care (of) those who have been taken, those who’ve been lost, and those yet to come,” she said. 

 

 

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