U.S. hiring more lawyers to investigate Native American killings and disappearances

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 1:58pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 5:33pm

The United States is placing 10 permanent attorneys and coordinators across the country to investigate the disappearances and killings of Native Americans. 

The program follows a Justice Department directive sent out last year to investigate the high rates of violence against Native Americans. One will be posted specifically in the Southwest.

Gary Restaino is the U.S. attorney in Arizona.

"In Arizona, we have 22 federally recognized tribes, 20 reservations and a perception by tribal members that missing persons take more time to investigate in Indian Country than outside of it," he said.

Challenges like geography and long distances have been used to explain away longer investigative times, he said. 

"But our tribal partners have been overcoming those geographic hurdles for generations. We should do the same federally," he said.

The program leads will investigate unresolved cases of missing Natives and coordinate with tribal and other local agencies.