Federal gov. launches first-ever database for missing and murdered Indigenous people
Native American performs tribal dances at the 113th Annual Arlee Celebration Powwow in July 2011 in Arlee, Montana (Radoslaw Lecyk / Shutterstock.com)

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has launched a new website dedicated to investigating missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native people around the country, the first of its kind offered by the federal government.

In Michigan and elsewhere, Native American murders are the least likely of any racial group to be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Before the BIA’s announcement Friday, there existed no national database of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

At the same time, Native Americans face disproportionately higher rates of murder, violence and sex trafficking; Indigenous women face a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average, while about 84% experience some form of violence in their lifetimes.

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland created the Missing and Murdered Unit (MMU) within her department in spring and has since made the issue a top priority. Haaland is the first Indigenous person to lead the agency.

BIA Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland, a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan, also has been working on the issue closely.

In the new database, viewers can see a list of missing or murdered cases around the country along with case details and photos of each individual submitted by their family. There are also links to submit a tip or report information for a case, as well as information about the crisis.

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