PHOENIX — During a trip to the Honeywell plant in Phoenix on Tuesday President Trump signed a new proclamation, declaring May 5 "Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day."
"[American Indian and Alaska Native people] experience domestic violence, homicide, sexual assault, and abuse far more frequently than other groups. These horrific acts, committed predominantly against women and girls, are egregious and unconscionable. During Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day, we reaffirm our commitment to ending the disturbing violence against these Americans and to honoring those whose lives have been shattered and lost," the proclamation said, in part.
"It's been a tremendous problem," Trump said during his roundtable with Native American leaders and Arizona officials at the Phoenix Honeywell plant on Tuesday.
In Oct. of 2019, the Department of Justice awarded more than $270 million in grants to improve public safety, serve victims of crime, combat violence against women, and support youth programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, according to the Trump Administration.
In Nov. 2019, the Trump administration established Operation Lady Justice, an inter-agency task force charged with developing an aggressive, government-wide strategy to address the crisis of missing and murdered women and girls in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
The DOJ's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative is placing coordinators in 11 United States Attorneys' offices to develop comprehensive law enforcement responses to missing persons cases.
According to a 2018 study by the Urban Indian Health Institute, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing persons' database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases.
U.S. attorneys’ offices declined to proceed with 37% of cases from Indian Country, according to a 2017 report published by the Department of Justice. Seventy percent of those declined cases were due to lack of evidence.
Murder is the third leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women and rates of violence on reservations can be up to 10 times higher than the national average, according to the CDC.
If you need help for domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available toll-free at 1-800-799-7233. You can also contact the Rape, Sexual Assault, & Incest National Network toll-free at 1-800-656-4673.