Gov. Walz, tribal leaders launch task force aimed at helping Native American women

Updated: September 19, 2019 06:46 PM

Gov. Tim Walz, along with state and tribal leaders, launched a new task force Thursday aimed at helping Native American women. 

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force is made up of more than two dozen members, including law enforcement, lawmakers and tribal advocates.


According to the governor, Minnesota ranks in the top ten states for murder rates among indigenous women.

"Today we let them know they did not fall to their deaths only to be forgotten," Ojibwe Elder Mary Lyons said.

More from KSTP: 

First Indigenous Women’s March empowers survivors, offers support

Lawmakers to discuss creating Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Tribal leaders call the issue "horrific" and "systemic." They say indigenous women and girls who go missing or get killed, all too often, get lost in the shuffle. According to the National Crime Information Center, only about 2 percent of their cases made it into the Department of Justice database in 2016.

The new task force in Minnesota will take a closer look at the root causes of the violence and give recommendations to lawmakers on how to reduce it.

"Too often, native women at best are invisible and at worst are disposable. That must and that will change," said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, a citizen of White Earth Nation. "The true victory is when we can really say: not one more."

The task force will be required to give lawmakers a full report and list of recommendations by next December.

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Alex Jokich

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