DOJ launches missing and murdered indigenous peoples outreach program

Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 7:02 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Finding justice for missing indigenous people is being addressed by the Department of Justice with a new outreach program they launched on Wednesday, June 28.

The program seeks to encourage cooperation between State, Federal, and Tribal resources to ensure that missing indigenous people are found, and those that commit crimes against them are caught.

The program arose from legislation called Savanna’s Act which lays a framework for law enforcement, outreach and training, and data collection related to missing or murdered persons. In addition to these guidelines, Savanna’s Act helped to create guidelines for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which tracks missing person cases. In terms of what prompted this program, a Department of Justice official says the public has been asking for change.

“I think that there’s been a lot of public outcry about the number of these cases that go unaddressed nationwide and so this is the department’s response to that public outcry,” said Alison Ramsdell, a U.S. attorney with the Department of Justice.

The program is broken up into five regions across the US with South Dakota being part of the Great Plains Region. Ramsdell says they expect to see missing person cases be resolved more effectively in the future.