Federal Government Opens Offices To Solve Cold Cases In Indian Country

By Laurel Morales
Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 7:40am

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Indigenous woman led the 2019 Phoenix Women
Delia Johnson/Cronkite News
Indigenous woman led the 2019 Phoenix Women's March, where they advocated for their missing and murdered Native sisters.

The federal government is opening seven offices across the country, including one in Phoenix, to solve cold cases involving the hundreds of murdered and missing indigenous people. 

In November, President Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing a task force to support tribal communities and reduce the number of violent crimes and unsolved cases in Indian Country. There are more than 1,400 American Indian and Alaska Native missing person cases in the U.S. according to the FBI. 

The new offices will be staffed with tribal law enforcement, Bureau of Indian Affairs, FBI and U.S. Attorneys officials. The task force plans to collect and manage data, to establish protocols for unsolved cases and to coordinate multi-jurisdictional cold case teams. 

U.S. Attorneys have had trouble prosecuting Indian Country cases due to lack of evidence, limited data collection and lack of clear protocols for authorities.

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