Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic is an issue currently affecting tribal communities and indigenous people living in cities.
Native American women face extremely high rates of violence, an epidemic which is marked by the lack of data around the number of women who go missing or are murdered in and outside of reservations.
Over 5,700 American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls were reported missing as of 2016, according to the National Crime Information Center, but only 116 of those cases were logged with the Department of Justice. Eighty-four percent of Native women experience violence in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice. A 2008 study found that women in some tribal communities are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average.
In 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham established the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force Act, which will collaborate with tribal governments, tribal law enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Justice to determine the scope of the problem, identify barriers, and create partnerships to improve processes for reporting and investigating cases. The task force, which was appointed in October 2019, will report its finding and recommendations to Governor Lujan Grisham, the legislative council service library, and the appropriate legislative committees.
MMIW Task Force Members
- Lynn Trujillo, Cabinet Secretary, Board Chair, New Mexico Indian Affairs Department
- Beata Tsosie-Pena, Pueblo Nations Representative
- Sharnen Velarde, Jicarilla Apache Nation Representative
- Bernalyn Via, Mescalero Apache Tribe Representative
- First Lady Phefelia Nez, Navajo Nation Representative
- Matthew Strand and Rose Rushing, DNA People’s Legal Services – Representing an organization that provides legal services to Indigenous Women
- Linda San-Stone, First Nations Community HealthSource -Representing an organization that provides counseling to Indigenous Women
- Elizabeth Gonzales, Representing the Office of Medical Investigator
- Becky Joy Johnson, Representing survivors of violence and families who have lost a loved one to violence
- Captain Troy Velasquez, Representing the New Mexico Department of Public Safety
- Brenda Gonzales and Kathy Howkumi, Representing the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Lady Justice