By Muhammad Atef | April 9, 2021

Missing & Murdered Unit formed within BIA | News, Sports, Jobs

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the formation of a new Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to provide leadership and direction for cross-departmental and interagency work involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Approximately 1,500 American Indian and Alaska Native missing persons have been entered into the National Crime Information Center throughout the U.S., and approximately 2,700 cases of murder and nonnegligent homicide offenses have been reported to the federal government’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

The new unit will help put the full weight of the federal government into investigating these cases and marshal law enforcement resources across federal agencies and throughout Indian country.

“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,” said Haaland in her April 1 announcement. “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.”

In addition to reviewing unsolved cases, the new unit will immediately begin working with tribal, BIA and FBI investigators on active missing and murdered investigations.

The unit will also enable the department to expand its collaborative efforts with other agencies.

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