Biden Issues Proclamation Designating 'Missing And Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day'

May 5, 2021

President Biden on Tuesday issued a proclamation declaring Wednesday, May 5th, "Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day" in the United States.

"Today, thousands of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native Americans continue to cry out for justice and healing," the proclamation reads. "On Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, we remember the Indigenous people who we have lost to murder and those who remain missing and commit to working with Tribal Nations to ensure any instance of a missing or murdered person is met with swift and effective action.    

"Our failure to allocate the necessary resources and muster the necessary commitment to addressing and preventing this ongoing tragedy not only demeans the dignity and humanity of each person who goes missing or is murdered, it sends pain and shockwaves across our Tribal communities.  Our treaty and trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations require our best efforts, and our concern for the well-being of these fellow citizens require us to act with urgency.  To this end, our Government must strengthen its support and collaboration with Tribal communities."

The proclamation names the Muscogee Nation as one Tribe currently working with the federal government on a "community response plan."

Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores, a Choctaw citizen who championed missing and murdered Indigenous persons during his tenure, tweeted support for the president's declaration. "This is a tragic issue worthy of more attention. I remain hopeful Tribes & ⁦the Justice Department ⁩can work together to address the #MMIP crisis throughout the US."

The White House has dedicated additional resources and coordination between federal and Tribal law enforcement agencies in order to address the issue. A new unit of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to aid in investigations was announced last month by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and former New Mexico Congresswoman who became the first Native American Cabinet secretary in history when confirmed this year.