President Joe Biden proclaimed May 5, 2023, as as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.
It's a crisis that has started to get more attention in the past several years.
"Generations of activists and organizers have pushed for accountability, safety, and change," Biden stated in his proclamation.
A report from the Urban Health Institute noted that there were more than 5,700 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls in 2016. However, many of the cases are never solved. The report states that only 116 of the cases were logged in the Department of Justice's database.
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In 2021, the Biden administration formed the Missing & Murdered Unit. It offers more federal support to solve cases throughout Indian Country.
“Whether it’s a missing family member or a homicide investigation, these efforts will be all-hands-on deck,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who became the first Native American woman to serve as a cabinet secretary, said at the time. “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.”
On May 5, the president is asking Americans to engage in raising awareness about the issue that is affecting so many Native communities.
"We need to respond with urgency and the resources needed to stop the violence and reverse the legacy of inequity and neglect that often drives it," President Biden said.
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