Minnesota House unanimously approves Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force

Pictured: Two of four Minnesota Native American legislators, Rep. Kunesh-Podein, a descendant of the Standing Rock Lakota Tribe and Rep. Becker-Finn, a descendant of the Leech Lake Ojibwe, calling for a Governor’s Task Force to stop violence against Indigenous women March 2, 2018.(Office of Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein)

The goal of the task force will be to better understand the causes of violence against Indigenous women and to reduce and prevent violence where it is happening

News Release

Office of Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton)

The Minnesota House today unanimously approved Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein’s bill to create a state task force to address the endemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Minnesota (H.F.70). Families impacted by historic violence shared heartbreaking personal stories in committees throughout session. There is currently no state or national system in place to collect data on missing and murdered Native women in Minnesota.

“Behind every missing or murdered Indigenous woman is a family and a community that has fought for action,” said Representative Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton). “Today we mourn the women we’ve lost, but we have renewed hope that no one will have to wonder if their daughters, their sisters, their mothers, and loved ones will come home when they walk out the door.”

If approved by the Senate, the task force will provide data and analysis of the systemic causes behind the number of missing Native American women in the state. The goal of the task force will be to better understand the causes of violence against Indigenous women and to reduce and prevent violence where it is happening. The task force will include members of the indigenous community, law enforcement, policymakers, and the public.

Stats and Figures:

  • American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average
  • Homicide is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • Minnesota has the 9th highest rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the country
  • 5,712 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women were reported in 2016 and only 116 were logged in a Department of Justice database.

Related coverage

Native Legislators in Minnesota Call For Task Force to Stop Violence

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