Hoeven Statement After President Establishes Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement today after the President signed an executive order establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

“We appreciate the President signing this executive order, which brings important resources and awareness for missing and murdered Indians in the United States,” said Hoeven. “As chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, we have been working on a bipartisan basis to advance important, strategic legislation and resources, including Savanna’s Act, reauthorization of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and the SURVIVE Act, which provides vital resources to improve public safety to tribal communities. We are pleased the President is focusing on coordinating law enforcement efforts that will allow tribal, state and federal agencies to share investigative information regarding missing individuals, which is a key recommendation in the several public safety hearings I chaired.”

Last week, Hoeven helped advance Savanna’s Act to the full Senate for consideration. The bill, which was first introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp last Congress, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was tragically murdered in 2017. The legislation directs the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to consult with Indian Tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines. 

In addition, Senator Hoeven has introduced:

  • The Tribal Law and Order Authorization and Amendments Act of 2019. The legislation will allow tribes access to Federal criminal databases, track how many native people go missing each year, evaluate coordination efforts and provide grant opportunities to Tribes to build capacity for the prevention of trafficking and missing persons. 
  • The SURVIVE Act, which would expand critical victims services by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund be allocated directly to Indian Tribes.

Savanna’s Act, along with Hoeven’s SURVIVE Act, was included in the Senate’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization legislation, which Hoeven helped introduce with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Further, Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure a key provision of his SURVIVE Act in the Senate’s recently-passed appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020. The measure would provide more than $150 million to assist victims of crime on the reservations in the coming fiscal year.