Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2023
WASHINGTON — This week, as part of the continued work by the Departments of the Interior and Justice to implement the Not Invisible Act and combat the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples (MMIP), Secretary Deb Haaland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco hosted the first in-person plenary session of the Not Invisible Act Commission at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The two-day meeting follows a series of online sessions since the establishment of the Commission last year.
The Not Invisible Act, which was authored by then-Rep. Haaland and passed into law in October 2020, established the Commission as a cross jurisdictional advisory committee composed of both federal and non-federal members including law enforcement, Tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing and murdered individuals, and survivors. Secretary Haaland and Deputy Attorney General Monaco announced the members of the Commission last year as part of a live event to recognize National MMIP Awareness Day on May 5.
“This work requires each of us to face our own trauma, to relive unimaginable pain, and visualize a future in which our loved ones are safe and our communities have closure. We're here for our children, grandchildren and relatives we have yet to meet,” said Secretary Haaland. “This work is urgently needed and requires all of us working collaboratively. I am so grateful to the Commission for the work they are doing and the lasting impact they will have.”
“The Justice Department is steadfast in our pledge to work with Tribal governments in preventing and responding to the violence that has disproportionately harmed Tribal communities. And we are committed to listening and being responsive to what our partners have to say,” Deputy Attorney General Monaco emphasized.
The Commission is developing recommendations through the work of six subcommittees focused on improving intergovernmental coordination and establishing best practices for state, Tribal and federal law enforcement to bolster resources for survivors and victim’s families, and combatting the epidemic of missing persons, murder and trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples, as specified under the law.
As part of the Commission’s final report to Secretary Haaland, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Congress, the subcommittees selected specific locations to hold field hearings this year to hear directly from the public in some of the communities most affected by the MMIP crisis:
* A national, virtual field hearing will be held later in Summer 2023 with details to follow.
Hearings will include both panel discussions and a public comment period. Specific topics of the hearings as well as logistical details and information will be made available to the public as the date of each hearing approaches. Trauma-informed mental health professionals will be available at each location.