Daines addresses Bureau of Indian Affairs official during committee hearing

During Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., Senator Steve Daines spoke about how the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis needs immediate attention.

Daines said that communication between the different law enforcement agencies needs to improve to be able to combat the problem.

“The murder rate of native woman are 10 times the national average,” Daines said.

Daines added that lawmakers must raise awareness and bring justice to these cases.

He asked Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney what they need to be able combat this crisis.

Sweeney said they have been working internally to develop strategies.

“We need the assistants in removing barriers. We need assistants. Also, when you look at violent crimes and missing and murdered Indian women and Alaskan and native women and children, we want to partner with this committee. We want to partner with federal partners to combat this,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney said that there is also a need for their officers to look at cold cases.

“From what I have heard from our officers internally is that they have strong desire to focus on cold cases to bring families closure and to have that finality,” Sweeney said.

Daines has requested a filed hearing so that the committee can go to Montana and meet with those who are directly affected.

Daines also talked about a resolution he introduced last week to mark May 5 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News.