New Washington Law Aims To Help Solve Cases Of Missing And Murdered Native Women

After a bill signing ceremony in Olympia, women from several local tribes perform a song in honor of the missing and murdered indigenous women in the US, Canada and Alaska. CREDIT: AUSTIN JENKINS/N3
After a bill signing ceremony in Olympia, women from several local tribes perform a song in honor of the missing and murdered indigenous women in the US, Canada and Alaska. CREDIT: AUSTIN JENKINS/N3

Listen

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Thursday a bill aimed at shedding light on the cases of missing or murdered Native American women. At the bill signing ceremony, Native women in traditional regalia performed a women’s honor song.

Roxanne White from the Yakama Nation said it’s to remember the murdered and missing women indigenous women from across the U.S., Canada and Alaska.

“Our cases are often never solved, never investigated,” she said. “We are not invisible. We are here and we have a lot of families on the Yakama Reservation that are still looking for answers.”

Supporters of the new law say Native American women are victims of homicide at rates many times the national average. And they have high rates of disappearances. But the exact numbers aren’t known because there is no comprehensive reporting system.

The new law is a modest first step. It directs the Washington State Patrol to work with tribes, local law enforcement and the Department of Justice. The goal is to understand how to increase resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women.  The legislation directs the State Patrol to report back to the Legislature with its findings by June 1, 2019.

Austin Jenkins contributed to this report.

Related Stories:

Colville Tribal member Crystal Conant releases the final salmon into the upper Columbia River on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Conant said salmon’s reintroduction to the upper Columbia will help heal the tribe and the ecosystem. CREDIT: COURTNEY FLATT/NWPB

Tribes Release 1st Salmon Into Upper Columbia Since Dam Construction

Salmon are now swimming in the upper Columbia River for the first time in decades. For regional Native tribes, Friday’s ceremonial fish release is a big step toward catching fish in traditional waters. Cheers erupted from the crowd as the first salmon was released since 1955 into the Columbia River above Chief Joseph Dam. Continue Reading Tribes Release 1st Salmon Into Upper Columbia Since Dam Construction

Read More »
Volunteer Emergency Manager Dorothea Thurby of Warm Springs takes inventory of bottled water Aug. 2, 2019. CREDIT: Emily Cureton/OPB

Residents Of Warm Springs Reservation Still Without Clean Water After 3 Months

The Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon has been without safe drinking water all summer. Some people don’t have running water at all. In May, a burst pipe led to a cascade of infrastructure failures. That leaves around 4,000 people improvising for an essential human need. Continue Reading Residents Of Warm Springs Reservation Still Without Clean Water After 3 Months

Read More »