New Mexico governor to establish MMIP Advisory Council

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is establishing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Advisory Council, officials said Tuesday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Pojoaque Pueblo Governor Jenelle Roybal and Picuris Pueblo Governor Craig Quanchello to lead the council.

“To all the victims, survivors, family members of those lost or missing, I see you, I hear you. We stand ready to continue the fight to bring all of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters home,” Gov. Roybal said.

Roybal and Quanchello will select council members. Officials will announce those members at a later time.

The council will consist of tribal and state leadership, law enforcement agencies, advocates and family members who have experienced the loss of a missing and murdered person.

“Bringing more law enforcement to the table will help address a major crux of this issue. That is a lack of coordination among federal, tribal, state and local entities,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.

The council will carry on the work of the New Mexico Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force. The governor created the task force through an executive order signed in May 2021.

A year later, the task force released the New Mexico Response Plan. Then, last month, the governor disbanded the task force.

Advocates raised concerns but a spokesperson for the state Indian Affairs Department said the task force was temporary. They also said the task force completed all the directions outlined in the executive order, including developing the response plan.

The new advisory council will work to implement that plan.

Officials also announced Missing in New Mexico Day will return this year. Last year, the day brought together resources for families of missing Indigenous people.

The second annual Missing in New Mexico Day is Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.