Daines, Tester Bipartisan Resolution Recognizing National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Passes U.S. Senate

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester, members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, announced the passage of their bipartisan Senate resolution marking May 5th, 2023, as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“On May 5th, the day Hanna Harris would have celebrated her 31st birthday, we take a moment to reflect on her and the far too many other murdered indigenous women, and those who are still missing. We need to keep their stories at the forefront of national discourse every day of the year and fight to bring their families the justice they deserve. I will keep fighting to address this crisis facing our Montana tribal communities and indigenous women across the United States.” Daines said.

“For too long we’ve seen Indigenous women in Montana and across the nation experience crime at a disproportionately high rate,”said Tester.“It’s beyond time that we strengthen public safety measures and enforcement in Indian Country to hold violent offenders accountable. One missing or murdered Indigenous woman is too many, and I’ll keep fighting in the United States Senate to ensure that the Tribes and law enforcement officers have everything they need to target violent offenders and help survivors get back on their feet.”

Daines and Tester annually introduce this resolution.

Quotes of Support:

“The Fort Belknap Indian Community joins Senator Daines and Senator Tester in recognizing the sacred lives of all Native Woman and Girls.  Violent crime against Native Women and Girls has a devasting impact on our communities and leaves a legacy of grief and unsettled mourning across Indian country.  Designating a ‘National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls’ helps call attention to the alarming rate of attacks on Native Women and Girls.  We must do more to prevent and prosecute these attacks, and ensure that tribes have the authority we need to protect our members.  We must honor the role of Native Woman and Girls in giving, protecting, and preserving our families, culture, and way of life.”  – President Stiffarm, Fort Belknap Indian Community

“The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) recognizes and honors the countless American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing and provides a space for families and survivors who continue to raise awareness and seek justice, healing, and lasting change. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) thanks Senators Daines and Tester for designating May 5 as the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG.” – Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)

“For many years, Montana reservations and other large land base tribes had been at the epicenter of the MMIP epidemic.  Broken Treaty and trust promises, failed federal assimilationist policies that created a tribal jurisdictional criminal maze, negative court decisions that diminish tribal sovereignty over non-Indians, and chronic underfunding of law enforcement have been at the heart of the problem.  COLT applauds Senator Daines’ efforts with this Resolution to shine light on the causes, remember the victims, and honor the memories of their lost lives by working to actually effectuate legislative changes to make Indian Country safer and hold the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, and Bureau of Indian Affairs—which so often fail Native crime victims—accountable.” – Marvin Weatherwax, Jr.; Member, Blackfeet Tribal Business Council; Chairman, Coalition of Large Tribes

“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) strongly supports the efforts of Senator Daines and Senator Tester and other members of the Senate to recognize May 5, 2023, as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Girls,” said NCAI Treasurer Shannon Holsey. “It is critically important to remember those mothers, sisters, and daughters we have lost over the years, and we must not rest until we have forged the partnerships and have found the innovative solutions needed to truly protect women’s health and safety. Today’s resolution rightfully calls on more hard work to be done to bring this ongoing crisis to an end and we thank everyone who supports the efforts to protect Native women and girls.” – National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)