NAVAJO COUNTY, Ariz. — In an effort to address the crisis of missing Indigenous people, the FBI announced Monday it is releasing a list of more than 170 Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation that stretches into Arizona and Utah.
FBI officials said at a news conference that the effort is being publicized to help locate the missing individuals, increase transparency and encourage relatives of missing Indigenous persons who aren’t on the list to reach out to local law enforcement and file a report.
The project is in addition to the FBI’s continuing efforts to call attention to unsolved Indigenous homicides and missing person cases it is investigating.
“For a long time, the issue of missing Native Americans has been in the news and a lot of people have been wondering if anybody is paying attention,” said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division. “I am here to assure you the FBI has been paying attention and together with our partners, we are taking a significant step toward justice for these victims, their families and communities.”
FBI officials said the list is the result of almost six months of work combining and validating different databases of missing Indigenous persons in New Mexico.
Many records of missing Indigenous persons were incomplete or outdated because the record was not updated once additional details were made available or once the person was located.
The FBI plans to update the names monthly.
Partners involved in the project include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services, New Mexico’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force, New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs, Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion.
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