Congress Signs Bills to Address and Prevent Crimes Against Native Americans

Congress recently signed two bills addressing and preventing crimes against Native Americans. The first bill, Savannah’s Act requires the Department of Justice to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols addressing missing or murdered Indigenous natives.

The DOJ will train law enforcement agencies to record tribal enrollment for victims in databases, report statistics on missing and murdered natives, they will develop regional guidelines on how to respond to cases of missing and murdered natives, and will develop and implement a strategy to educate the public on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

The second bill, the Not Invisible Act of 2020 will increase efforts to reduce violence against Indian land and its people. The Department of Interior will partner with an official from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to develop prevention efforts, grants, and programs related to the missing, murdered, and trafficked native peoples. 

The DOI and the DOJ will work together to establish a joint commission on violent crimes on Indian lands and against natives, as well as submit a written response to the recommendations developed by the joint commission. 

Both bills will now be sent to the President to sign.

The Realist Woman’s take:

These bills work to address and act on the utter neglect of our native people, especially native women. Creating a database for the missing and murdered and mandating joint commissions to prevent and reduce violence on native lands and on native people is a start but so much more needs to be done. The steps being taken now to help Native Americans can ever rectify what’s been done to our native people, but I’m pleased that we are making an effort to know the names of those missing and murdered. Who they were matters. And preventing future crimes against them matters.