Compelling Testimony Give at Congressional Hearing on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women

Rep. Deb Haaland wore red in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Published March 15, 2019

House Natural Resources Subcommittee Holds Hearing Seeking Solutions to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, during a Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous People of the United States, Congresswoman Deb Haaland gave voice to the silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.

During the hearing, the subcommittee heard testimony from Native American women who have personal and professional experience with this issue, including state elected officials, university experts, and resource providers.

Haaland has been a leader on this issue and hit the ground running raising awareness and championing tangible solutions on day one. After being elected in November, she attended U.S. Senate Hearings on the 2018 Savanna’s Act, she raised the issue in the media and called for solutions at the New Mexico legislature. Today, was the first hearing to be held on this issue in the U.S. House of Representatives.

>>>WATCH: Congresswoman Deb Haaland discusses the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis

“Native American Women deserve to feel safe and protected, but today, they are more likely to face violence than any other population of women,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “Today, we gave a voice to communities coping with the silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women that has gone overlooked for far too long. The discussions we had today will inform our next steps as we address this crisis and build upon existing legislation to begin to address the issue.”

The hearing came a day after Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Ohio) offered an amendment in the House Judiciary Committee that would have stripped jurisdictional protections for Native women from a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Sensenbrenner’s effort was voted down largely along party lines.

Haaland raised concerns at today’s hearing that nine Republicans voted for Sensenbrenner’s move: “For any congressional leader to attempt to take away protections for not only women but indigenous women, at a time when we are just beginning to understand how deep-rooted and serious of an issue the severe lack of protections are for native women, is an abomination.”

The leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native Women between ages 10 and 24 is homicide, and American Indian and Alaska Native women experience murder rates 10 times the national average. A 2016 National Institute of Justice report states that more than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaskan Native women (84.3 percent) have experienced some form of violence in their lives.

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