President Trump signs Savanna’s Act into law

President Trump signs Savanna’s Act into law
Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind (Source: KFYR)

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - President Trump Signs Savanna’s Act into law. Savanna’s Act, named in memory of North Dakota resident Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind who was brutally murdered in 2017, seeks to combat violence against the most vulnerable members of the Native American community.

This bill directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols to address missing or murdered Native Americans.

The bill requires DOJ to:

  • provide training to law enforcement agencies on how to record tribal enrollment for victims in federal databases;
  • develop and implement a strategy to educate the public on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System;
  • conduct specific outreach to tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations regarding the ability to publicly enter information through the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or other non-law enforcement sensitive portal;
  • develop regionally appropriate guidelines for response to cases of missing or murdered Native Americans;
  • provide training and technical assistance to tribes and law enforcement agencies for implementation of the developed guidelines; and
  • report statistics on missing or murdered Native Americans.

Tribes may submit their own guidelines to DOJ that respond to cases of missing or murdered Native Americans.

Additionally, the bill authorizes DOJ to provide grants for the purposes of (1) developing and implementing policies and protocols for law enforcement regarding cases of missing or murdered Native Americans, and (2) compiling and annually reporting data relating to missing or murdered Native Americans.

Federal law enforcement agencies must modify their guidelines to incorporate the guidelines developed by DOJ.

Finally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation must include gender in its annual statistics on missing and unidentified persons published on its website.

MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox released this statement to Your News Leader:

"Having databases and now getting federal help is going to make this Act successful. Otherwise, for Native American women, the perception has always appeared to be in the public that our people don’t matter as much as other people do. We have to show people that that isn’t true and the only way to do that is to be proactive.

The MHA Nation has made great strides in the areas of housing, crisis response, drug and alcohol treatment, shelters and emergency housing. We will continue to fight violence against women in our communities."

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement on President Donald J. Trump signing Savanna’s Act into law:

“Thanks to President Trump for signing Savanna’s Act into law and for his steadfast protection of the most vulnerable among us. Savanna’s life was lost far too early. I hope this legislation serves as a remembrance of her story and prevents other tragedies from occurring.”

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