Secretary create unit to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the U.S.’ first Indigenous cabinet secretary, will create a unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans, the department announced Thursday evening. There are some 1,500 American Indian and Alaska natives in the National Crime Information Center’s database of missing persons, while about 2,700 murders and nonnegligent homicides have been reported to the federal Uniform Crime Reporting program.
Native American women in particular are the victims of murder at over 10 times the national average, according to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. Homicides are the number-three cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women 10-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal government formed a task force on the issue in 2019 to pursue such cases. Haaland said the new unit will expand on that work and establish a unit chief position to develop policy for the unit. The unit will review both unsolved cases and work with tribal, BIA and FBI investigators on active cases as well, according to the department.
“Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades. Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated,” Haaland said in a statement. “The new MMU unit will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe, and provide closure for families.”
Haaland said in her confirmation hearings earlier this year that the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women would be a major priority for her at Interior.
“Whether it’s a missing family member or a homicide investigation, these efforts will be all hands-on deck,” Haaland added Thursday. “We are fully committed to assisting Tribal communities with these investigations, and the MMU will leverage every resource available to be a force-multiplier in preventing these cases from becoming cold case investigations.”
The announcement comes as Indigenous people have expressed hope that Haaland at the helm of the department will mean increased attention on issues specifically affecting the community. Both Haaland and Democratic allies in Congress have emphasized the value placed on environmental stewardship and conservation in Native communities.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson seized on Tuesday’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to casually suggest to his viewers that the American government knows that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.”
Top former Trump administration advisors helped suppress scientific information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they felt was harmful to President Trump, and attacked the agency's credibility, according to documents obtained by House Democrats. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to former Trump advisers Scott Atlas, Paul Alexander, and Steven Hatfill, asking for documents and communications about the former administration's response to the pandemic.
Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him “Farmer Bill” this year? The third richest man on the planet doesn’t have a green thumb. Nor does he put in the back-breaking labor humble people do to grow our food and who get far less praise for it. That kind of hard work isn’t what made him rich.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday warned of "impending doom" over rising coronavirus cases, telling the public that even though vaccines are being rolled out quickly, a fourth surge could happen if people don't start taking precautions.