Tribal Leaders Meet With U.S. Attorney's Office Over Missing And Murdered Native Americans

Monday, November 25th 2019, 6:17 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

The U.S. Attorney's office in Tulsa is taking new steps to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans, who are victims of violent crimes at a rate higher than other demographics.

On Monday, they met with tribal leaders.

"Native Americans are over-represented for their population size when it comes to violent crime in America," said Trent Shores, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

The federal government is pledging to investigate the issue, including missing and murdered indigenous women, and better coordinate data.

On Friday, US Attorney General William Barr announced they'd be investing at least $1.5 million into the hiring of 11 coordinators for missing and murdered indigenous people.

One of those 11 would be based at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma here in Tulsa.

"He or she is going to come in and help to better coordinate all those involved,” said Shores. “[They’re going to] help ensure there are protocols in place so that when law enforcement receives a missing person’s report that all of the proper entities are aware."

Shores says they're in the process of hiring that role.

At Monday’s meeting, they wanted to hear feedback from tribal leaders about what they're looking for in the position.

"We want to find a solution that works in Oklahoma with our Indian country structure," said Shores.

Shores says they also brought representatives together to learn more about justice issues facing Native American groups.

They're goal is to work together.

"It's not going to help if the federal government comes in and just figures out a solution. It has to be a partnership," said Shores.