New Report Identifies 506 Urban Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls


A snapshot of data from 71 U.S. cities identified 506 cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). In a report released Wednesday, November 14 by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board, researchers also revealed significant challenges in collecting data on the total number of missing or murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives residing off-reservation and outside rural villages.

“Seventy-one percent of American Indian and Alaska Natives live in urban areas, yet, accurate data does not exist regarding the rates of violence among this population,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of UIHI and citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. “This report is a step towards addressing this epidemic.”

UIHI intends to provide the report as a resource for urban Indian organizations, tribal governments, and legislators.

“This report provides a necessary snapshot of the epidemic and is a call-to-action to protect Native women and girls,” said Echo-Hawk.

Annita Luccesi is a co-author of the report with Echo-Hawk and is a Southern Cheyenne descendant. Lucchesi found in the course of her research some significant issues: a lack of available data on urban Indians; the need for non-tribal law enforcement agencies to coordinate with tribal nations regarding their members and to share data on MMIWG; the racial misclassification of missing and murder cases who may be American Indian or Alaska Native, but it was not noted in their records; and inadequate funding for research on violence against urban American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls.

“We owe it to these women and girls to fully identify the scope of the problem,” Lucchesi said. “What we found in our research was that in some cases law enforcement agencies didn’t even have records on file to consult, they were simply going off what they could remember of past cases. This is unacceptable.”