ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly 40 law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, social workers and survivors of violence have been named to a federal commission tasked with helping improve how the government addresses a decades-long crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans and Alaska Natives, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Thursday.
The committee’s creation means that for the first time, the voices guiding the Interior and Justice departments in the effort will include people most affected by the epidemic, said Haaland, the first Native American to lead a cabinet department.
She said the panel includes members with diverse experiences and backgrounds, representing communities from Alaska and Washington to Arizona, Oklahoma and Michigan. It will craft recommendations on how the government can better tackle a disproportionately high number of unsolved cases in which Native Americans and Alaska Natives have disappeared or been killed.