Trump order creates task force on missing Alaska Natives, American Indians

A 12-foot-tall kuspuk featuring portraits of 250 missing or murdered Indigenous women is presented on stage at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Fairbanks, Oct. 17, 2019. (Photo by Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media)

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order creating a White House task force on missing and slain American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The task force will be overseen by Attorney General William Barr and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. It is tasked with developing protocols to apply to new and unsolved cases and creating a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases.

Related: ‘Savanna’s Act,’ aimed at mending police response to violence against Native women, advances in US Senate

Trump on Tuesday called the scourge of violence facing Native American women and girls “sobering and heartbreaking.”

The National Institute of Justice estimates that 1.5 million Native American women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including many who are victims of sexual violence. On some reservations, federal studies have shown women are killed at a rate over 10 times the national average.

Related: Why an Alaska artist made a 12-foot kuspuk featuring the faces of missing and murdered Native women

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