LAC DU FLAMBEAU—Today, Senator Janet Bewley (D-Mason), Representative Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield), Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) and Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) announced bipartisan legislation to create a task force on missing and murdered tribal women and girls, comprised of a majority of tribal individuals close to the issue. Through the hard work of organizations such as American Indians Against Abuse, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and tribal leaders and activists across Wisconsin, this task force will address the reasons behind, and find solutions to end, the domestic and sexual abuse of native women and children.
Tribal women face extraordinarily high rates of violence and abuse, up to 10 times the national average. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women. The National Crime Information Center revealed that in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls. However, the U.S. Department of Justice’s federal missing persons database only logged 116 cases during this time.
“Ending the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women requires a multi-faceted and all hands on deck approach,” said Shannon Holsey of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians and President of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. “This task force would convene the important players within the state of Wisconsin and begin the work to identify the comprehensive actions necessary to provide justice to the missing and murdered and better protect our Native women and girls moving forward. The creation of this task force would be a tremendous first step forward for Wisconsin.”
“We must do a better job of addressing the shocking levels of violence and abuse against tribal women and girls,” added Sen. Bewley. “This task force will help identify the causes of this abuse and come up with ways to put an end to it. I appreciate the work everyone involved is doing to address this crisis.”
“Women and young girls on tribal lands are dying or missing at a far higher rate than anywhere else,” said Rep. Beth Meyers. “As a state and a country, we are failing these women. We need to do more to combat this growing crisis. This task force is an important first step in making sure that everyone gets a voice at the table, and that we are doing everything we can to protect women and girls from violence.”