Alaska's senior senator has introduced legislation to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto reintroduced Savanna's Act, according to a release from Murkowski's office Monday.

Savanna's Act aims to increase coordination among law enforcement agencies, including data collection and information sharing, and empower tribal governments with the resources they need to handle cases.

Murkowski says she's proud to be part of the bringing the bill forward because Alaska's rural villages face unique challenges.

“In Alaska, many rural communities lack public safety and are often hundreds of miles away from the nearest community with a Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) or State Trooper," she said. "Compound that with the fact Alaska lacks a unified 911 system, which makes accessing resources even more challenging in many rural communities."

A recent Urban Indian Health Institute study found that Alaska has the fourth-highest number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

"We have a duty of moral trust toward our nation’s first people and we must all be part of the solution,” Murkowski said.

Last month, a dozen Native organizations sent a letter to Mike Dunleavy, who had recently been elected governor, asking that he make state funding available to continue investigating the cases.

Savanna's Act is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was abducted and killed in Fargo, North Dakota last year. It passed the U.S. Senate unanimously in December 2018.

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