Daines: Hold hearing in Montana on missing, murdered Native Americans

Concerned about the way federal agencies investigate missing and murdered Native American women, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines is asking the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to come to Montana for a field hearing.

The hearing would be a follow up to the committee’s December oversight hearing of the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs’ handling of missing women reports in Indian Country.

It’s believed that at least two dozen Native American women in Montana were reported murdered or missing in 2018. Meeting in Montana, the committee would hear from the friends and families of missing and murdered Native American women, Daines said in his request.

“While this committee held a robust oversight hearing in December of 2018, there are many questions left unanswered, more indigenous persons have gone missing, especially in the Northern Rockies region,” Daines wrote.

Both Daines, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Jon Tester are on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Because Montana is the only state with two committee seats, congressional discussions about murdered and missing Native American women have been driven by Montana examples.

The December oversight hearing included testimony from Kimberly Loring, sister of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, a woman who disappeared on the Blackfeet Reservation in 2017.

The FBI didn’t get involved in HeavyRunner’s case for nine months.