State to create liaison for missing and murdered Indigenous people in South Dakota

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 9:40 AM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN) - The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office got the OK to create a liaison position for missing and murdered Indigenous people.

House Bill 1199 creates an Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons and hires a full-time missing persons specialist. The office will help bridge jurisdictional gaps that occur when investigating missing persons cases and also provide concise effort to locate missing people in South Dakota.

The bill was delivered to Gov. Krisi Noem’s desk on March 10. According to a release issued this week by Rep. Peri Pourier (D-Pine Ridge), Noem will hold a re-enactment signing of HB1199 on Monday, March 29.

The current intent will be to expand and improve upon the state’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse. The liaison office will also be funded by federal and foundational grants. The liaison will coordinate with South Dakota’s tribal and state leaders.

“This is a step in the right direction for state and tribal leaders. This issue is a non-political issue that we should be able to work together towards addressing and solving,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer.

There were 102 missing South Dakotans as of Friday. This includes runaways who might be found quickly.

Tribal leaders of the Crow Creek, Oglala, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux Tribes, RGB Consulting, Inc., Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc., South Dakota Democratic Party, South Dakota ACLU, South Dakota Voices for Justice, individual grassroots supporters and the bill’s cosponsors lobbied in Pierre to support this bill.

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