Legislators Propose Funds To Help Bring Justice to New Mexico's Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women
February 1, 2021
Santa Fe - A group of New Mexico legislators are taking steps to bring new resources to the fight for justice for the families of New Mexico’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives.
New legislation introduced today (HB208) by State Representatives Derrick Lente (Sandia), Melanie Stansbury, and Andrea Romero bring new investigative resources and funding, ensuring that the work of the task force will continue.
“It is so important that we continue the work bringing justice to the survivors of our missing and murdered Native women and relatives. The governor and these legislators give our families hope that their lives have and do matter and that they will no longer be ignored,” said Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo.
“The fact is: we’re not safe until we’re all safe,” said Rep. Derrick Lente. “The MMIW Task Force was clear in its report that there are serious gaps in the data available to accurately identify cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We’ve only started this critical work, and this bill ensures the task force’s continuation and ultimately, its policies that will address this destruction of our first nation peoples.”
“This is not just a tribal issue, this is a wider public safety issue,” said Rep. Andrea Romero. “Indigenous women are murdered at rates up to 10 times higher than other ethnicities, yet it’s been swept under the rug for generations. The work of this task force is critical and necessary if we’re to bring justice and closure to the families and loved ones of the unknown number of victims."
“The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis is affecting every community in New Mexico,” said Rep. Melanie Stansbury. “We must continue to ensure a coordinated response, provide services, and address the underlying and systemic causes of violence that impact our indigenous communities. I am proud of the work the state has done in partnership with tribal partners and survivors through the MMIW task force. This is just the beginning. There is much more work to be done.”
“It is critically important that we support legislation that addresses the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and all indigenous relatives. House bill 208 will ensure that state agencies, local law enforcement and tribal governments are working together to address the epidemic of violence and trafficking,” said Pueblo of Tesuque Governor Mark Mitchell. “I thank the bill sponsors, Representative Lente, Representative Romero and Representative Stansbury for their work to safeguard New Mexico’s tribal citizens.”
Under the leadership of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico’s Indian Affairs Department, Department of Public Safety, tribal leaders, and victims’ families convened the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. By correlating new data from tribal law enforcement and experiences from victims’ families, the final report provides a roadmap for better law enforcement and tribal cooperation to prioritize the investigation of missing and murdered women across New Mexico.
This legislation will expand membership to include additional investigative agencies and $50,000 to the Indian Affairs Department to fund ongoing collaboration to implement recommendations from the task force.
A copy of the Task Force report, as well as a clearinghouse of data is available on the Indian Affairs Department’s website at: https://www.iad.state.nm.us/policy-and-legislation/missing-murdered-indigenous-women/.