12.10.18

Daines Successfully Secures U.S. Senate Hearing on Missing and Murdered Persons in Indian Country

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing this Wednesday on the issue of missing and murdered persons in Indian country. The announcement comes after Daines sent a letter to Committee leadership requesting a hearing.    

“We face tragedies from across Montana where tribal citizens, particularly women and girls, go missing without a trace,” Daines said. “We must do all in our power to curb the crisis of American Indians and Alaska Natives who disappear and whose cases never see justice. I’m glad to see that the committee is treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves. I look forward to hearing from Kimberly Loring HeavyRunner, Montanan and sister of missing Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, at the hearing.” 

Kimberly Loring HeavyRunner, sister of Ashley Loring HeavyRunner who disappeared in June 2017 from the Blackfeet Reservation, will testify at the hearing.

In September, Daines sent a letter to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee urging them to hold a hearing on the issue.

The hearing will take place on Wednesday, December 12 at 12:30 PM MT. The hearing will be live streamed HERE

Background:

Many incidences of missing persons in Indian country go unreported and even when they are reported, Indian country law enforcement carry a high volume of cold cases that go unresolved.

On October 3, 2018 the Senate passed comprehensive opioids legislation which included Sen. Daines’ Mitigating METH Act. That same day, Daines met with the nominee to head ONDCP and highlighted the devastating impacts methamphetamine and opioids have on Montana tribes and their law enforcement agencies.

On April 26, 2018, the Senate passed Daines’ bill to designate May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. 

On April 19, 2018, Daines led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to a Department of Justice Inspector General report, urging the department of Justice to uphold its responsibilities to Indian tribes and implement the recommendations outlined in that report as quickly as possible. 

On March 23, 2018, Daines’ bill to help relocate children who go missing through AMBER Alert systems became law.  

On February 16, 2018, Daines sponsored and supported the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ passage of the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act, which included Daines’ bipartisan legislation to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases. 

On January 1, 2018, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation, the Mitigating the Methamphetamine Epidemic and Promoting Tribal Health Act, or the Mitigating METH Act, to combat methamphetamine use across Montana and strengthen Indian tribes’ ability to fight this epidemic.

On December 6, 2017, Daines’ bipartisan legislation, the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. This bill strengthens services for victims of crime in Indian country.  

On May 5, 2017, Daines joined with the family of Hanna Harris to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls as designated by his Senate resolution. 

On May 5, 2017, Daines introduced and secured U.S. Senate unanimous passage of a resolution recognizing May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The resolution honors the memory of Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who was murdered in July 2013.

In the Spring of 2017, Daines spoke at the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center briefing. The organization is based out of Billings, Montana.

  

###