Heitkamp introduces Savanna's Act

Washington, D.C. - A little more than a month ago, North Dakota was gripped by the story of Savanna Greywind.

A Native American woman who at first was reported as missing and was later found to be murdered. 

Now, Senator Heidi Heitkamp is taking to the Senate floor to help address the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women. 

In 2016 North Dakota had 125 reported cases of missing native women and girls.

However, Senator Heitkamp says it was likely many more than that because a lot of these cases go unreported. 

"Because of jurisdictional challenges  frequently missing and exploited women from the reservation are left behind. We know there are 125 women missing from Indian country and who's looking for them, who's actually paying attention and that's why this bill is so important," said Heitkamp.

According to Senator Heitkamp, the bill would specifically address the following: 

Improve tribal access to certain federal crime information databases. The bill would update the data fields to be more relevant to Native Americans, and mandate that the Attorney General consult with Tribes on how to further improve these databases and their access to them. The Attorney General would then submit a report to Congress on how the U.S. Department of Justice plans to implement the suggestions and resolve the outstanding barriers Tribes face in acquiring full access to these databases.

Require the Attorney General, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Health and Human Services to solicit recommendations from Tribes on improved access to local, regional, state, and federal crime information databases and criminal justice information systems during the annual consultations mandated under the Violence Against Women Act.

Create standardized protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans. These protocols would take place in consultation with Tribes, which would include guidance on inter-jurisdictional cooperation among tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Require an annual report to Congress with data. The report would include statistics on missing and murdered Native women, since there is little data on this problem and there isn’t a central location for keeping that information. The report would also include recommendations on how to improve data collection.

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