‘Warrior Mom’ Pamela Foster Addresses Tribal Leaders About Need for AMBER Alert Training & Collaboration

Pamela Foster, left, is shown with Chyrl Jones, Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Pamela Foster, left, is shown with Chyrl Jones, Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

By Denise Gee Peacock

At the 2024 National AMBER Alert Training & Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP)/AMBER Alert in Indian Country (AIIC) Symposium in New Orleans, Pamela Foster—the mother of Ashlynne Mike, namesake of the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2018—spoke directly to Tribal leadership about the need for AMBER Alerts and AMBER Alert training/collaboration. Here are her powerful words, excerpted with permission:

Poster of Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act by Arizona Daily Independent
Credit: Arizona Daily Independent

I would like to take a moment to speak to our Tribal leaders across the nation.

The implementation of the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country is free. Do not wait for another tragedy to happen. You’re accountable to your community to find solutions to improve public safety. Your role as leader is knowing your community and listening to their concerns. A vital part of your work is engaging with them. When a child is reported missing, your community plays a critical part in the recovery process.

As Tribal leaders, your vision for the future is seeing the future needs of the people. We have always looked ahead, planning, and praying—not just for us—but for everyone who was to come. This is what is meant when we pray for the seven generations; we help the generations to come by creating a better place for them. And that starts today.

When statistics show Indian Country has a high rate of violence, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of concern. But in Indian Country, we are facing a threat. Our own people are being murdered, abducted, trafficked, and are missing.

The initiative to solve these problems begins with you, and you cannot expect others to do this work for you. And as elected leaders this is your obligation. Every child that goes missing deserves to be found. To truly serve humanity you must find a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in your endeavors with the desire to make a positive impact.

Let us not allow another voice to be silenced by these acts of violence. You are a medicine, and the power is in your hands. You have a calling to make a difference for your children, your grandchildren, the next seven generations to come. And we cannot let the darkness win.

I feel a sense of relief, knowing that we can do something; but there’s a deeper concern that we are failing our Tribal communities and most of all their children.

We now have a permanent federal program to help Tribes implement this child abduction response system. But the requests for AMBER Alert in Indian Country Training and Technical Assistance have been low, and we need to do better. We need to be prepared.

These trainings are not just for the high, elected leaders with titles. We need to train at the grassroot levels; this is more powerful than you know. And I hope that we can connect with the community because they have the willingness and drive to engage with Tribal leaders and advocate on issues evolving on the ground. They have built trust in the community.

I don’t want this to happen to another child. That is why I’ve worked hard. It’s now in your hands to implement the work and get the trainings out—because when it comes to child abductions, there are no warning signs. I am living proof to say that it can happen to anyone.

I implore my Indigenous family from all Tribes to please implement Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert trainings for your community.

Pamela Foster
February 28, 2024
2024 National AATTAP-AIIC Symposium, New Orleans