Solving missing, murdered indigenous women goal of new task force

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 4:50 PM CST
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Tribal members and lawmakers in Wisconsin are working together to create a task force on missing and murdered tribal women and girls.

on a national plan to address missing and murdered indigenous women.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a $1.5 million initiative to hire specialized coordinators in 11 U.S. attorney's offices.

But Wisconsin was not one of the states the new initiative will serve.

Author of the bill, Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), said the bill was already in the works when Barr made his announcement.

She said with Wisconsin not a part of the federal initiative, it shows why lawmakers have to take matters into their own hands.

“We’re not going to have any guarantee that any funds or help will come to Wisconsin,” Stuck said, "so we really need to make sure that this is happening on our own.”

Lawmakers and tribal members are doing their best to bring justice to indigenous girls and women.

“This brings tribal members and law enforcement together,” Stuck said. “Again what we heard over and over was tribes feel like law enforcement brushes these cases off."

would create a task force on missing and murdered tribal women and girls.

The task force would examine factors that contribute to higher rates of violence and what can be done to stop it.

"So we really need voices and community members to get involved to be public about it to make those calls to legislators to push it,” Kristin Welch said.

Welch is a community organizer of Menikanaehkem, a non-profit run by indigenous women. They held a panel discussion on the bill Thursday.

Rep. Stuck said the next step is trying to get a hearing and vote on the bill in committee.

If lawmakers pass the bill, the task force would present a report to the legislature and tribal leaders with its recommendations in December 2020.