NewsIndian Country


Commission recommends improvements to MMIP programs

MMIP Ashley Loring Heavyrunner
Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 05, 2023

HELENA — The Not Invisible Commission has given its recommendations to better address the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP).

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in delivering the Commission’s recommendations said that investigating crimes against Indigenous peoples have long been underfunded and ignored.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. Crimes against Indigenous peoples have long been underfunded and ignored, rooted in the deep history of intergenerational trauma that has affected our communities since colonization," said Haaland. "I look forward to reviewing the recommendations, which will help us continue to galvanize attention and resources toward these tragic epidemics.”

The Not Invisible Act Commission was created to deliver ideas to better address violent crimes against Indigenous people. Members are from law enforcement, Tribes, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing and murdered individuals, and survivors.

They held eight hearings - seven in-person and one national virtual hearing. Almost 600 people attended, with testimony from more than 250 people.

The commission gave six recommendations, including more funding to meet needs in Tribal communities, legislation to ease the jurisdictional challenges between Tribes, state, and federal governments, and criminal justice coordination through pooling resources.

They also called for a decade of action and healing, which recognizes the work they are doing is the beginning of long-term solutions.

This is an issue of importance to a significant number of Montanans. The state is home to seven reservations and 13 federally-recognized tribes.

According to Montana's MMIP reporting portal, Native Americans are four times more likely to go missing in Montana, and nearly 85 percent of Indigenous women have experienced physical violence.

It is important to note that these recommendations are part of a federal working group and Montana leaders have also taken action.

During the 2023 Montana legislative session, lawmakers passed and the governor signed a bill extending the state’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.

Click here to read the complete Not Invisible Commission report.

The recommendations will now go to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Congress, who have 90 days to respond.