Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomed today’s passage of both Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act of 2019 by the House Judiciary Committee.
“These bills provide the resources and means for tribal police and courts to take a larger role and exert greater leadership and authority over criminal activity on Native American reservation lands. Equally important, they begin to acknowledge decades of public policies that have denied Native American sovereignty,” said Diane Randall, FCNL general secretary. “As a Quaker organization, we support legislation that honors the promises this country has made to Native Americans, and we urge the full House and Senate to approve both.”
FCNL and several Native American organizations have been working to ensure both houses of Congress pass legislation to address the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women through the U.S. Native women and girls face a murder rate 10 times the national average, and more than 4 in 5 Native women have experienced violence.
“These two bills improve two of the most problematic issues currently plaguing tribal criminal justice – coordination among jurisdictions and agencies and access to criminal databases,” said Kerri Colfer, FCNL’s Native American Program Congressional Advocate.
“Every time a Native woman goes missing, a crisis begins. These crises are not limited to remote, rural tribal reservations. They are affecting Native Americans living in all major American cities,” Colfer concluded.
Savanna’s Act (H.R. 2733) is named after Savanna LaFontaine Greywind, a Dakota woman eight-months pregnant who went missing and was found brutally murdered in August 2017. Its goal is to improve the responses to missing and murdered Native women by improving tribal access to federal criminal information databases. It also will require data to be collected on missing and murdered Native people.
The Not Invisible Act (H.R. 2438) aims to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native people by engaging and improving coordination among law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.