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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Release: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force Receives First Public Hearing

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

RELEASE: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force Receives First Public Hearing


ST. PAUL, MN – Legislation authored by Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton) to create a new state task force to address the endemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Minnesota (H.F.111) received its first public hearing today. The House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee listened to heartbreaking personal stories from families impacted by violence committed against indigenous women. There is currently no state or national system in place to collect data on missing and murdered Native women in Minnesota.

We can send a message that Minnesota will not let Indigenous women continue to vanish,” said Rep. Kunesh-Podein. “No one should wonder if their daughters, their sisters, their mothers and loved ones will return when they walk out the door. Native women are not a disposable community.”

If approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Walz, the new task force will provide analysis regarding the systemic causes behind the number of missing Native American women in the state. The goal of the task force will be to better understand the causes of violence against Indigenous women and to reduce and prevent violence where it is happening. The task force will include members of the indigenous community, law enforcement, policymakers and the public.

Stats and Figures:

  • Murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian/Alaska native women.
  • 5,712 cases of MMIWG were reported in 2016 and only 116 were logged in a DOJ database.
  • Misclassification is a serious problem. From the 1960s through the early ‘80s, the Seattle Police Department used “N” to signify either Negro or Native American.