This week, Montana Senator Steve Daines led a coalition of his colleagues to allow tribes’ access to national criminal databases during a meeting of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“This amendment will help insure that the Department of Justice is using all available resources to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases, which will help keep native peoples safe,” Daines said. “$3.9 million has been set aside to fund these registries. Since VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) 05, tribes and the Department of Justice have struggled to successfully implement the tribally specific registries, and those funds have sat at DOJ, unfortunately unused. Meanwhile, tribes continue to face an uphill battle accessing criminal databases, and are often subjected to state law enforcement agencies to do so.”
Daines also asked Congress to set aside a special day to honor those native women who have been the victims of violence.
“On Monday, I introduced Senate Resolution 401 that would designate May 15, 2018 as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls,” he said. “I was joined by a bipartisan coalition of colleagues, also led by Senator Tester and other members of this committee. This amendment is part of my greater commitment to curb this tragic epidemic, and strengthen tribes’ ability to keep their citizens safe.”
The resolution honors the memory of Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, who was murdered in July 2013. The resolution seeks to commemorate the lives of all missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered.