WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) joined Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) in introducing a bipartisan resolution designating May 5, 2022, as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The resolution calls on the people of the United States to commemorate the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native women whose cases are documented and undocumented in public records and the media.
A recent Department of Justice study showed that in some Tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. According to GAO researchers, American Indian and Alaska Native women in the U.S. experience higher rates of violence than most other women, and tribal and federal officials have stated that this incidence of violence constitutes a crisis.
“I’m proud to stand in solidarity with the families of missing and murdered indigenous women and help give a voice to those whose stories have not been heard,” said Joyce, a Vice Chair of the Native American Caucus. “As someone who spent 25 years as a prosecutor, I know how important it is to have safe communities and am committed to taking the actions necessary to protect our Native American communities from these terrible crimes. We can and must do better to deliver justice for all victims of senseless violence.”
Additional original cosponsors of the resolution include Reps. Chris Stewart (UT-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Adam Smith (WA-01), Kelly Armstrong (ND-AL), Tom Cole (OK-04), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Maria Salazar (FL-27), Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Jay Obernolte (CA-08), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Matt Rosendale (MT-AL), and Stephanie Bice (OK-05).
In January of 2019, Joyce was chosen to be the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over funding for the Indian Health Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs. Since that time, Joyce has met with several different tribes on the subject and continues to work to address gaps in law enforcement capabilities in Indian Country so that officers can effectively tackle the persistently high rates of violence experienced by Native women.
Additionally, as the co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, Joyce has voted twice to increase the safety of Native women through the Violence Against Women Act. Last Congress, Joyce also cosponsored and voted for the Not Invisible Act, which became law in October of 2020. This legislation created an advisory committee on violent crime comprised of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors to establish best practices for law enforcement on combatting the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of American Indians and Alaska Natives. It also charged an expert within the Bureau of Indian Affairs with improving coordination of violent crime prevention efforts across federal agencies.