This bill directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols to address missing and murdered Indians.
The Not Invisible Act, sponsored by Secretary Deb Haaland when she served in Congress, mandates the creation of a commission that includes representatives of Tribal, state, and local law enforcement; Tribal judges; health care and mental health practitioners with experience working with Indian survivors of trafficking and sexual assault; urban Indian organizations focused on violence against women and children; Indian survivors of human trafficking; and family members of missing and murdered Indian people.
The Task Force has been empowered to conduct consultations; develop model protocols to apply to new and unsolved cases of missing or murdered persons in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, including best practices for law enforcement response, data sharing, and better use of databases; establish multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams to review cold cases that involve missing and murdered AI/AN; and develop both an education/outreach campaign and a public awareness campaign.
An Act relating to Missing Persons; Creating the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force; Declaring an Emergency
During the 2021 legislative session, Attorney General Austin Knudsen advocated for House Bill 98, which reauthorized the statewide missing Indigenous persons task force. Members include representatives from each of the state’s eight federally recognized tribes, a representative from the Attorney General’s Office, a representative from the Montana Department of Justice who has expertise in the subject of missing persons, and the Montana Highway Patrol. The U.S. Attorney General’s Office (Montana District), Indian Health Services, and the U.S. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Coordinator for Montana are also represented on the Task Force.
A 21-member task force to assess systemic causes behind the high rate of disappearances and murders of Indigenous women.
The task force will include tribes and tribal organizations, as well as policy makers at the local, state and federal level.