Govind Tekale

57% Of All Missing People In South Dakota Are Native Americans

Crime, Indigenous, Native American, News, USA

Rapid City, South Dakota : South Dakota‘s, AG on Wednesday announced that he has filled a position to coordinate efforts from state, tribal & local law enforcement agencies, as well as nonprofit organisations, to tackle alarming rates of indigenous people going missing or having their deaths unsolved. The hirings came almost four years after the Legislature cracked the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons coordinator in the Attorney General’s Office when 57% of all missing people are Native Americans.

The AG’s office has  put a new focus on crimes against Native American people, recently hiring two women to address problems, South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo described as inter related human trafficking & missing or murdered indigenous people.

The State’s Native American Communities suffer from what advocates describe as crisis -level rates of people going missing or killed. Currently, 57% of people who are listed in the AG’s data base of missing people are Native American, despite them reporting less than 9% of the state’s total population. It’s  a problem that is not restricted to South Dakota Tribes, federal agencies &  state governments nationwide are trying to ankle a decades-long crisis of missing & murdered Native Americans & Alaska Natives.

Allison Morisette, a citizen of the Ogala Sioux Tribe who previously worked in the Pennington County state’s Attorney’s office, will be South Dakota’s new Missing & Murdered Indigenous Person’s Coordinator (MMIPC). Mary Beth Holsworth, who previously directed an organisation dedicated to child sexual assault prevention called Endeavor52, will be the Human Trafficking Coordinator (HTC).

Vargo said they would focus on pulling together resources to address problems that often cross tribal & state boundaries. “No single entity or agency can solve the problems that we face”, he said at a news conference. “We will face some of the same problem & we have to face them to get her.” The hirings, however, came almost two years after the Legislature created the MMIPC in the AG ‘s office. 

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