Montana’s Missing Women’s Crisis

WHY, WHY, WHY is this problem not seen as a “problem” – in fact, it is much worse than a problem, it is a travesty that oozes of bigotry. Where are the feminists who love to brag about caring about women? Where are the journalists who ignore this issue like it is nothing of importance? Where are the protests or marches from all sides? Where are the phone calls, e-mails, faxes, or letters that should be sent to the officials in Montana, the BIA, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, AIM, the Department of Justice, National Crime Information Center, the Urban Indian Health Institute, and all the other sources that need to be contacted?

During a recent Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing, it was said “that Native Americans in Montana and across this country are dealing with violence at a much higher rate than the rest of the population and you cannot set foot in Indian country without hearing a heartbreaking story about this growing problem.”

The problem is not new in Montana, but in 2019, four pieces of legislation are proposed that should, at the federal level, revamp the way the U.S. Department of Justice compiles a database on missing and murdered Native women to help make sure all law enforcement agencies have necessary information.

In 2016 in a report by the Urban Indian Health Institute said “according to the National Crime Information Center there were 5,712 reports cited of slain or missing Native American women and girls, but only 116 of those cases were logged into a Department of Justice database.” “One of the problems stated is that it takes so long to bring attention to the problem of missing and murdered Native women because of inaccurate stereotypes that degrade how people view Native women.”

According to Senator Jon Tester, “Where’s the problem? Is it with BIA, is it with the FBI, is it with tribal law enforcement?” Tester wondered aloud at the December 12 hearing. “Why are we not finding these people? We would have a different reaction if this was a non-native.”

The Department of Justice has said it’s taken steps to address the problem. Last September it announced more than $113 million in grants to improve public safety, serve victims of crime and combat violence against women in American Indian and Alaska native communities. (This I will have to see to believe that any of this money will go to helping the missing women and girls.)

Studies have shown that this is NOT just a problem in Montana but throughout 71 cities in other states. Police in many U.S. cities fail to track murdered and/or missing Indigenous women. Investigations have shown that records have not been kept, nor have the stories of these missing or murdered women and girls been covered on the news. They have been missing from life, from the news, and from documentation. THIS MUST END!

To read a more indepth story of this travesty of justice, please click on:

Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf

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