Okla. U.S. Attorney's Office Creates Position To Solve Native American Missing, Murder Cases

Friday, November 22nd 2019, 10:12 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is launching a new initiative to solve cases involving missing and murdered Native Americans.

The plan includes creating a special office in Oklahoma and dedicating federal resources to bring justice to victims' families. 

The U.S. Attorney's Offices in Oklahoma is creating a new position to respond to reports of missing and murdered Native American.

"We know Native Americans are victims of violent crimes at rates higher than any other demographic," said Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Oklahoma.

The National Institute of Justice estimates 1.5 million Native American women have experienced violence in their lives, and more than half have experienced sexual violence.

Shores said the statistics are alarming.

"That's something us at the justice department find unacceptable," said Shores. 

United States Attorney General William Barr announced a $1.5 million national initiative for U.S. Attorneys to designate people in 11 states as missing and murdered indigenous persons coordinators.

Also Read - Oklahoma To Play Key Role In National Strategy To Address Missing And Murdered Native Americans 

Shores said Oklahoma's coordinator will work from Tulsa but cover the whole state. 

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said this wouldn't have happened without activists pushing for answers in missing persons and murder cases.

"It's an issue we all bear the burden of making sure we solve these cases and reduce the violence our native women suffer," said Hoskin. 

The Muscogee Creek Nation released a statement said in part that "just this week, MCN advocated for increased funding and legislation requiring coordination between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and tribal law enforcement" and that they "Appreciate the new efforts."

"We want to turn the tide and see the rates go down," said Shores. 

The plan also includes a rapid deployment of FBI resources for cases of missing Native Americans, and an in-depth analysis of data on the crimes. 

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