AMBER Alert in Indian Country – Issue 4 2020

Utah task force begins report for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

Utah Representative Angela Romero
Utah Representative Angela Romero

A nine-member task force has begun compiling a report on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Utah. The task force hopes to understand the scope of the problem and stop further injustices from occurring. The members include representatives from Restoring Ancestral Winds, the Urban Indian Center, the Paiute Indian Tribe, and several state officials. 

Utah Rep. Angela Romero sponsored a 2019 resolution making May 5th Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and LGBT+ Awareness Day. The resolution passed, providing support for a task force. “We ran the resolution honoring the memory of murdered and missing Indigenous women and reminding people that this is an epidemic in our country,” said Romero, who identifies as Hispanic and Assiniboine (part of the Sioux Nation). “And when the resolution passed, we knew that we had enough support to put together a task force.” The report was slated for completion by November 2020, but has been pushed back due to the pandemic.

Canadian Indigenous organization asks for changes in AMBER Alert policies

The Native Women’s Association of Canada wants law enforcement to update how it applies the AMBER Alert criteria for cases involving Indigenous girls. The demand comes after a 14-year-old Indigenous girl was found in a wooded area with the suspect a week after she went missing. Law enforcement listed the girl as a runaway, but the group said an AMBER Alert should have been issued because of her age and the larger issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. “They may have run away, but we have to look at it more in depth,” said Lorraine Whitman, president of the association. “We just can’t take it as a case that they wanted to leave. We have to look into it because there are more underlying areas that we have to investigate as well.” The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Nova Scotia is reviewing its protocols and policies.