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Haaland: Petito case a reminder of missing Native Americans

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said on Thursday there are hundreds of Native American girls and women who are missing or have been murdered.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this April 23, 2021, file photo Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. Haaland said extensive news media coverage of the death of Gabby Petito while on a cross-country trip should be a reminder of hundreds of Native American girls and women who are missing or murdered in the United States. Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary, said her heart goes out to Petito's family, but said she also grieves for “so many Indigenous women'' whose families have endured similar heartache “for the last 500 years.'' (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says extensive news media coverage of the death of Gabby Petito should be a reminder of hundreds of Native American girls and women who are missing or murdered in the United States. 

The first Native American Cabinet secretary said her heart goes out to Petito’s family. But she also grieves for “so many Indigenous women″ whose families have endured similar heartache “for the last 500 years.″ 

Haaland, a member of the Pueblo Laguna tribe, said she has frequently seen Native American family members posting pictures on fences and the sides of buildings to help locate missing girls or women.  

When that happens, “you know I see my sisters,″ she told reporters Thursday at a news conference.  

The disappearance and death of the 22-year-old Petito generated a whirlwind of news coverage as well as a frenzy of online sleuthing. The Florida woman was found dead at the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

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