(October 10, 2022) – Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which honors the historic, cultural, and contemporary significance of indigenous peoples – and “the ongoing work to protect them,” said Tyesha Wood, Program Manager for the AMBER Alert in Indian Country (AIIC) Initiative.
“AMBER Alert in Indian Country works in support of indigenous peoples’ safety through mission-critical efforts involving child protection and recovering endangered missing and abducted children,” Wood added, noting studies show violence against Native Americans and Alaska native peoples far exceeds national averages.
Some of the mission-critical work the AIIC is involved with includes:
- AIIC Technology Toolkit distribution: This ongoing initiative is providing tribal law enforcement with nearly every technological resource necessary for responding to missing and abducted children – a rugged laptop, webcam, digital camera, scanner, and more. The AIIC work is a component of the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP), funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2018 in partnership with the National Criminal Justice Training Center.
- The Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force/Operation Lady Justice Initiative (Executive Order 13898). The MMIP initiative and other Operation Lady Justice programs – overseen by the Office of the U.S. Attorney General – is engaged in outreach to learn about and create best practices to respond more effectively to cases of missing or murdered persons in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.
- “Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People” – Executive Order 14053. Signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden on the first day of the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit, the Order addresses long-standing challenges to uphold the country’s trust and treaty responsibilities, strengthen tribal sovereignty, and advance tribal self-determination. The Order requires the U.S. Departments of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to actively support MMIP Task Force/Operation Lady Justice initiatives, and any needs required by Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act.
“Native Americans have lived upon this land since time immemorial,” Wood said, “and our traditional values are reflected in how we care for our communities – especially our children, whom we hold sacred.”