AMBER Alert in Indian Country NEWS Across the U.S. – From the 50th Edition of the AMBER Advocate Newsletter

Washington launches the first Indigenous Alert system in the U.S.

On March 31, 2022, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the nation’s first Indigenous Alert for missing Native Americans. The alert will send messages to law enforcement, news agencies, social media, and electronic highway signs. The alert is designed to address a much needed and improved response to the high rate of missing and murdered indigenous women. Women in some tribal communities face a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average, according to the Department of Justice. Additional efforts are underway to help indigenous communities from the DOJ’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force, which is led by the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Cherokee Police in North Carolina receive AMBER Alert toolkit

The Cherokee Indian Police Department in Cary, North Carolina, received an AMBER Alert in Indian Country (AAIIC) Technology Toolkit that includes a computer, camera and other digital technology resources to help law enforcement officers and investigators in missing and abducted child cases. The Toolkit initiative is funded through AAIIC work that is part of the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act. AATTAP Administrator Janell Rasmussen said the award recognizes the evolving cooperation between state and tribal agencies. “It’s unusual to see such a phenomenal partnership between a state agency and a tribe, and there is great work being done here,” Rasmussen said.

White Earth Nation receives $1.2 million donation for Boys & Girls Clubs

The White Earth Nation in Minnesota received a $1.2 million donation for its Boys & Girls Clubs. The gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is part of a $281 million donation to 62 clubs across the nation. “Today young people face an unprecedented number of obstacles to their success and well-being,” said White Earth Nation Boys & Girls Club Interim Chief Executive Officer James Hvezda. “Studies show a lack of access to technology, positive mentors and guidance, food insecurity and other critical factors can cause long-term setbacks and trauma for millions of young people.”

Indigenous New Mexico women address Congress about the murder of Native females

Two Indigenous women from New Mexico spoke before a U.S. Congress subcommittee in March 2022 about the high number of murdered Native American women and relatives. Angel Charley, of the Laguna Pueblo, spoke about the failures of the federal government to stop “a crisis” of missing and murdered Indigenous individuals. Pamela Foster, a Navajo and mother of murder victim Ashlynne Mike, said tribes have been hampered during the pandemic from implementing AMBER Alert systems. “Thousands of stories have fallen through the cracks of the judicial system,” Foster said.

Navajo Nation holds awareness walk for missing and murdered relatives

About 150 Navajo Nation members took part in a two-mile walk in March 2022 to raise awareness of the growing problem of missing and murdered Diné (Navajo) people. The march in Kayenta, Arizona, was sponsored by the Navajo Nation Council. “We are marching to bring a voice to the families searching for missing relatives and to tell the stories of the victims that never returned home,” said Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown. “In the Navajo language, there is no word for human trafficking, the missing, and the inhumane violence experienced.” Brown said Navajo men must reclaim traditional teachings to protect women from violence.