Feb 12, 2019 - South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee Approves a Bill to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
“I come from a community where people can tell stories about a Native woman killed on the road, hit by a drunk driver, and nothing happened. She remains unimportant. The stories go on and on, all the way back into the 1900s.” Rep. Tamara St. John, R-Sisseton
February 12, 2019
Pierre, SD – On February 12th, the South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that seeks to remedy the inadequate data collection of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Senate Bill 164, SB 164, is an act to provide uniform procedures for the reporting of and investigation of missing and murdered indigenous women.
If passed, it would require the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to standardize the reporting and investigation of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Photo by Sings in Timber
According to Rep St. John, SB 164 is being done, in part, as a response to the failure of Congress to pass the Savanna’s Act. Savanna’s Act, named after 22-year-old Savanna Greywind who was killed in 2017 in Fargo, ND when she was eight months pregnant, seeks to diminish crime in Native American communities by improving how data on crime victims is reported and how missing persons cases are handled.
According to the Indian Law Resource Center, Native American women have an estimated murder rate that is 10 times the national average and according to the National Institute of Justice indicated that 84 percent of Native women endure violence in their lifetimes.
Savanna’s Act is being held up by one lawmaker, Republican Rep Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
SB 164 received the unanimous support of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.
Cover photo by Photo by Sings in Timber
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle)