SPOKANE, WA – Federal, state, local, and Tribal leaders will join together tomorrow in recognizing May 5th as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. In doing so, U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref announced today that she will join in calling on all citizens and residents in Eastern Washington to support Tribal governments and Tribal communities’ efforts to increase awareness of missing or murdered Indigenous People.
From the USAO:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington fully supports efforts to reduce violence and bring awareness to this important issue. “Recognizing and honoring missing or murdered Indigenous people is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington,” U.S. Attorney Waldref stated. “It remains unacceptable that Native Americans experience some of the highest rates of violence in the country, a situation that is all the more tragic in light of the generations of trauma already suffered by Indigenous people. We will continue the important work of prosecuting those who perpetrate violence on Tribal land and who victimize those who reside on our District’s four Reservations.”
“The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to address the causes and symptoms of this difficult problem.” U.S. Attorney Waldref added, “During the past several years, the Department has sought the help and input from Tribal leaders and Tribal communities to develop sustainable protocols to help our communities respond when a tribal member is reported missing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office supports these efforts, and we are fully committed to working closely with Tribal leaders, law enforcement partners, and community stakeholders to further implement these initiatives, as we strive to keep Eastern Washington communities safe and strong for everyone.”
“While each case is unique, what all MMIP cases have in common is the hole left in a community when a member goes missing.” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “As the principal law enforcement agency charged with investigating violent crimes on our state’s reservations, I want to stress the importance the FBI places on bringing those who target our indigenous populations to justice.”
“The Office of Justice Services, Missing and Murdered Unit is committed to confronting the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons crisis head-on. Relying on strong federal, tribal, state and local partnerships, we are more now than ever able to ensure cases are thoroughly investigated so those responsible for these horrific crimes are brought to justice,” said Justin Hooper, BIA Office of Justice Services Regional Agent in Charge, Missing and Murdered Unit.
If you or someone you know has information about a missing or murdered Indigenous person, please contact the FBI Seattle Field Office by calling (206) 622-0460 or by visiting tips.fbi.gov.