A few weeks into her new role as Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland has prioritized the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) crisis. Last week, Secretary Haaland announced a new Missing & Murdered Unit (MMU) under the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades,” the Interior Secretary said in a statement. She added, “Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated. The new MMU 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.”
In 2018, the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) published a groundbreaking report that was one of the first attempts to quantify the scale of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis. Anchorage was listed as having the third-highest number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIW), and with 52 cases, Alaska ranked fourth in the nation for the highest number of MMIW cases. Since then, Data for Indigenous Justice has issued an updated report for Alaska’s MMIWG data that far outstrip the figures reported by UIHI in 2018. Currently, there are 229 unsolved cases of MMIWG in Alaska. These numbers represent loved ones and family members.
Data for Indigenous Justice 2021 Report: We Are Calling to You: Alaska’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn and Girls: https://dataforindigenousjustice.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/We-Are-Calling-To-You-1.pdf