Representative Ruth Buffalo of Fargo introduced two bills that would require additional training and data collection by law enforcement related to missing and murdered indigenous people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide is the third leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women. The legislation is mirrored after Savanna’s Act, which has been proposed in the U.S. Congress.
The first bill (HB 1313) will require the state’s criminal justice data information sharing system to include data related to missing and murdered indigenous people. According to a study by the Urban Indian Health Institute, there were 5,712 reports of missing or murdered indigenous women or girls in 2016, yet only 116 cases were reported in the federal missing persons database.
The other bill (HB 1311) would provide training for state’s attorneys and law enforcement officers and officials regarding missing and murdered indigenous people. The training would be provided by the North Dakota Human Trafficking Commission.