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Press Release

National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota joins its partners across the federal government, as well as people throughout American Indian and Alaska Native communities, in recognizing May 5, 2023, as National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.

The department’s work to respond to the MMIP crisis is a whole-of-department effort that takes many forms. One year ago today, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to launch the Not Invisible Act Commission, a joint Commission established by the Not Invisible Act with an essential mission — to reduce violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives. In February, they welcomed the first in-person plenary meeting of the Not Invisible Act Commission. Since then, the department’s representatives on the commission — who are department leaders and subject matter experts — have participated in the Commission’s field hearings, which will continue through the summer. Later this year, the Commission will deliver recommendations for addressing the MMIP crisis to the Attorney General and the Secretary.

In July 2022, Deputy Attorney General Monaco issued a memorandum reiterating that it is a priority of the Department of Justice to address the disproportionately high rates of violence experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives, and relatedly, the high rates of indigenous persons reported missing.  The memorandum directed each United States Attorney with Indian country jurisdiction—along with their law enforcement partners at DOJ—to update and develop new plans for addressing public safety in Indian country. 

In October 2022, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued revised Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance. The revised guidelines, which were updated for the first time in a decade, address when and how department employees work with victims and witnesses of crime to ensure that their voices are heard and that they are protected during criminal justice proceedings. For the first time the guidelines include cultural and linguistic considerations for victims from American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Today and every day, we recognize, support, and stand with the disproportionate number of Native women in South Dakota who suffer violence in their communities and elsewhere in our state. Federal, Tribal, and State authorities are committed to ending this unacceptable scourge of violence and bringing to justice its perpetrators. 

If you are aware of a person being victimized in any way, we urge you to call 911 and report it so that authorities can respond appropriately. 

Updated May 5, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Community Outreach