DOJ launches commission to help missing and murdered Indigenous people

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Federal and state agencies went in front of the Not Invisible Act Commission Wednesday. 

They discussed how they handle missing and murdered Indigenous people’s cases. The hearing will last through Friday, but the Department of Justice already announced a new effort to combat the crisis. 

“I am proud to announce the Department will permanently place 10 attorneys and staff in five designated regions across the United States in nine host districts,” said Alexander Uballez with the New Mexico U.S. Attorney. 

The DOJ will prioritize these cases with the launch of its Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Regional Outreach Program. 

“These coordinators, EOUSA’s and staff will work together with tribal, state, and federal law enforcement as well as non-governmental partners, community partners, to promote communication, coordination and collaboration on MMIP issues,” said Uballez. 

He said, in the last year, the department has increased prosecutions by 13% nationwide, which includes an increase in violent crime prosecutions. 

While it is a trend in the right direction it is only part of the strategy to address the crisis.

“No amount of investigation prosecution or years in prison will bring back a murdered loved one. It is only through outreach, education, and prevention that we can truly confront this crisis,” he said. 

The work is far from done but the new program will work with tribal partners in this multi-faceted issue. 

“The Department of Justice is committed to working alongside and learning from our tribal partners with respect, sincerity, and a shared interest in the well-being of tribal communities,” said Uballez. 

The program is also part of a directive from the deputy attorney general back in July 2022 to promote public safety in Indian Country.