Quakers Laud Committee Passage of Savanna’s Act; Urges Full Senate Action

By Timothy McHugh, November 15, 2018

Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) today welcomes the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ approval of Savanna’s Act (S.1942/H.R.4485). The bill is now in the hands of the full Senate. Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine Greywind, a Dakota woman eight-months pregnant who went missing and was found brutally murdered in August 2017.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“We hope this week’s passage of Savanna’s Act will be the spark that the full Senate and House of Representatives need to move the bill to the President’s desk as quickly as possible,” said Diane Randall, FCNL’s Executive Secretary. “As Quakers, we believe that tribal police and courts should have primary authority over all criminal activity on reservation lands.”

Native women and girls face a murder rate that is 10 times the national average, and more than 4 in 5 Native women have experienced violence

Savanna’s Act would expand tribal access to federal crime databases and calls for improved response and coordination from law enforcement agencies responding to missing and murdered Native Americans. It also would require annual reports on the number of missing and murdered Native American women amid concerns that inadequate data collection has stifled efforts to measure the full scope of the problem.

“The bill addresses two of the most perplexing conundrums afflicting tribal criminal justice – coordination among jurisdictions and agencies and access to databases,” explained Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa), FCNL’s Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy. “When a sister, a daughter, an aunt, or a mother has gone missing and is in danger of trafficking, rape, and murder, there is no time to deal with bureaucratic barriers. These are moments of crisis. This crisis is not limited to remote, rural tribal reservations, it affects cities nationwide.”

In a report released Wednesday, the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute says researchers found some 500 missing persons and homicide cases involving Native American women in 71 cities. The cases were identified through limited police data that researchers obtained through public records requests and media reports. It also found that numerous police departments in cities nationwide are not adequately identifying or reporting cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.

To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.

Timothy McHugh

  • Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets. He is responsible for providing FCNL staff with opportunities to convey our message – in print and through the airways – to the public and throughout the country. He keeps FCNL issues and staff on the collective radars of reporters and journalists nationwide. Lastly, he runs FCNL several media-focused social media channels.