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Press Release

Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Trent Shores Recognize Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

President Donald J. Trump today proclaimed May 5, 2020, as Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day. The proclamation reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to reverse the trend of violence affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives and to remember those missing or lost. Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Trent Shores shared their commitment to providing justice to these victims and their families.

“American Indian and Alaska Native people have suffered injustices for hundreds of years, including today’s rampant domestic and sexual violence carried out primarily against women and girls. Today, President Trump has proclaimed a day to remember all those missing and lost to this unacceptable violence," said Attorney General William P. Barr. "Through the Presidential Task Force – co-chaired by Katie Sullivan, who heads our Office of Justice Programs – and in partnership with Tribal Nations, we are all committed to ending this cycle of violence.  To that end, we have brought unprecedented resources to support public safety and victim services, including $270 million in grant funding in fiscal year 2019.  The department is also hiring 11 coordinators to consult with tribes and develop common protocols to address this scourge of violence.  From this day forward, today’s proclamation marks a time for all of us to honor Native Americans who have been lost and rededicate ourselves to what President Trump has called ‘our mission to bring healing, justice, hope, and restoration’ to American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”

“Today, I hope to give attention to the voices of American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls who have been the victims of violent crime. We should listen to their experiences. We should heed the concerns of their families and friends in Indian Country. We should be inspired to take action and confront this tragic victimization. During this Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day, United States Attorneys reaffirm our commitment to stop the cycle of violence against the first Americans, and we honor all those impacted by these terrible crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

In November 2019, critical initiatives were launched, in collaboration with Native American and Alaska Native communities, to develop robust protocols and programs to better protect and find justice for indigenous women and girls. In November, President Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. U.S. Attorney Trent Shores was appointed to the task force. The task force is working to develop protocols, procedures, and best practices to address new and unsolved missing and murdered cases. It is co-chaired by the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior. Also launched in November was the Justice Department's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person's Initiative, which places MMIP coordinators in U.S. Attorneys’ offices in 11 states, including Oklahoma. The plan also calls for the deployment of the FBI’s most advanced response capabilities when needed, improved data collection and analysis, and training to support local response efforts. You can learn more about the Operation Lady Justicehere: and about the Justice Department’s MMIP initiative here.

Originally, the U.S. Senate designated May 5th as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls in 2017. The observance shined a light on the high rates of homicides of American Indian and Alaska Native women, as well as other forms of violence, including sex trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, affecting Native communities throughout the United States. The Senate resolution was drafted in memory of Hanna Harris (Northern Cheyenne), whose birthday was May 5. Harris was found murdered in Montana in 2013.


Public Affairs

Updated January 17, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice