Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls

Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2020-04-21
Unit 1Slide Deck: Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Unit 2Transcript: Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Unit 3Workbook: Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Unit 4Recording: Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls

A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and fate are not known. A broad definition which poses the challenges that Tribal Police face when dealing with their cases of missing persons.

David J. Rogers is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to continue his Crimes and Policing in Indian Country webinar series. David is enrolled with the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho and is currently the CEO and chief instructor of Tribal Public Safety Innovations. He has 44 years of experience in criminal justice having served in various roles and is deemed an expert on tribal law enforcement.

In this session, David zeroes in on the issue of missing American Indian and Alaska Native peoples. Points tackled include:

  • What is Indian Country: A look into its inclusions and demographics.
  • Who are the missing persons that Indian Country are dealing with.
  • The heightened criminal activity and victimization in Indian Country compared to the rest of the US population.
  • What policing in Indian Country looks like – the agencies, typical agency size, and their funding sources.
  • Jurisdictional challenges that arose along the course of history which formed a complicated jurisdictional framework that applies to Indian Country and tribal people.
  • Historical challenges to working missing persons in Indian Country and ways that these are being addressed in contemporary times.
    • Missing persons do not fall under the category of major crimes which may not warrant immediate FBI attention or response.
    • Shortage in manpower and the difficulties with recruiting, hiring, and retention of officers.
    • Obstacles brought about by limited resources and a shortage of funding allocated for equipment, vehicles, and training.
    • Challenges and restrictions in terms of tribal police training which results in the limited skill set of the officers.
    • Inexperience that comes as an offshoot of the inability to retain experienced officers and provide specialized training.
    • Jurisdictional limitations that confine tribal police from providing swift, comprehensive, and efficient response to missing persons cases.
    • Lack of interest by agencies with jurisdiction to address the issues in Indian Country.
    • Distrust from the community on how missing persons cases will be handled which then results in limited or non-reporting.
    • Absence of or gaps in information-sharing which often left tribal police working in the dark with no access to investigative data or leads from state and federal agencies.
  • The prevalence of missing persons cases in Indian Country when compared to national statistics and the top cities with most cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
  • Economic, social, and criminal factors that create a higher risk for Native Americans to go missing.
  • The need to identify what is putting Indian Country at a much higher risk for missing persons cases.
  • Initiatives at the grassroots, state, and federal that aim to raise awareness on the issue, assist the victims and their families, provide better response and investigation, and legislate better policies and protocols for these cases.

David answered questions relating to:

  • Working with NamUS and NCMEC for these cases.
  • How history shaped the definition and existence of tribes.
  • Existing support systems in Indian Country to help the family of missing persons.
  • Historical complexities which led to the challenges in getting tribal officers to access law enforcement training.
  • Manpower challenges in tribal law enforcement agencies.
  • The importance of collaboration and coordination between tribal, local, state, and federal agencies to better address missing persons cases.


Audience Comments

  • “I think it was useful information all around. I was very pleased and I appreciated the time and effort people put in to bring this for a presentation.” — Alesia
  • “I have attended several BIA trainings and yet, it was very surprising to me to know the level of education that is needed across the United States concerning Native Americans.” — Cynthia
  • scope of problem — Casey
  • “An excellent description of MMIW challenges and where improvements can be made.” — Farah
  • “This would be an excellent webinar for those who know nothing about MMIWG in Indian Country. It was great. Thank you.” — Kim
  • “David is a great instructor, always giving history and bring us forward. I got a lot of education in jurisdiction… [it] was nice to hear it all.” — Tor



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