Image source: Shelly Feldman, 2021. Accessed via:

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP)

American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) populations make up the second-highest number of reported missing persons and yet are the smallest proportion of the U.S. population (1). Over 80% of AIAN men and women have experienced violence in their lifetime, which equates to almost 3 million individuals (2). Nationally, indigenous communities have remarkably heightened homicide and disappearance rates, and numbers are only increasing. The National Crime Information Center reported 5,203 cases of missing indigenous women and girls in 2021 (3). A year later, that number rose to 5,491 (4).

There is a need for collaboration between federal, state, tribal, and local legal systems to ensure the distribution of consistent support and resources to address the disparity of homicides and missing persons across tribal communities. The Sovereign Bodies Institute, an indigenous-led organization, is taking the initiative to improve data tracking systems by independently compiling a central database of missing and murdered indigenous people from 1900 to present day. Their database includes people of all ages and genders and is routinely updated. You can find more information about the Sovereign Bodies Institute MMIP database at the following link: MMIP Database | SBI

President Joe Biden signed a proclamation naming May 5th as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, and Nevada does not hesitate to show support by spreading the message of injustice against indigenous peoples. One organization arranged a 5k prayer run/walk at Tule Springs to raise awareness and honor missing and murdered indigenous women. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada, Jason Frierson, traveled to connect with the Tribal communities in northern Nevada as they discussed public safety issues. The Nevada Board of Regents also passed a law to waive Native American students’ tuition costs (for more information on this bill, please visit the 2021-22 Native American Fee Waiver Report).

To learn more about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons crisis, visit the links below.

  1. Chakraborty T. Reporting & Investigating Missing Persons: A Background Paper on How to Frame the Issue. Accessed August 2, 2023.
  2. Institute of Justice N, of Justice Programs O, Department of Justice U. Five Things About Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men. Published online 2023.
  3. 2021 NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics — FBI. Accessed August 31, 2023.
  4. 2022 NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics — FBI. Accessed August 31, 2023.
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