The Office on Violence Against Women joins countless others today wearing red to help give voice to the missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. I encourage you to read President Biden’s proclamation here.
On this Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we show our support for families who are grieving, and we recognize the tireless work being done by individuals across the nation to address the serious crisis.
This crisis demands collaboration and action, not just from tribal governments and advocates, but also from their colleagues at the federal, state and local levels.
At OVW, we work to implement the Violence Against Women Act. Since it was first enacted in 1994, VAWA has reshaped the way our nation addresses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
The link between these crimes and the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous individuals cannot be overstated; nor can the urgency and importance of the cry for help that we are hearing from native families and communities.
OVW is just one of the federal partners addressing this tragedy. We know that we do not do this work alone. In this endeavor, OVW’s dedicated staff is led by our Tribal Affairs Division, whose deep and long-lasting commitment to addressing the unique experiences of American Indians and Alaska Natives helps to ground OVW’s work in the realities of the trauma experienced by our native brothers and sisters.
Through OVW’s grant programs and our partnerships with other federal agencies, we are working to ensure that tribes have access to critical criminal databases and information systems.
We are supporting the data collection needed to inform and focus the law enforcement response when an indigenous individual goes missing or is murdered.
Unfortunately, the need for this observance highlights the fact that while we have made many strides since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, we have much more work to do. So we at the Office on Violence Against Women stand with our partners throughout the Department of Justice and across the federal government to raise our voices and raise awareness, and we encourage you to do the same.
Together, we believe that we can end the exploitation and murder of American Indians and Alaska Natives.