Murkowski urges action for missing, murdered Indigenous women on Senate floor
Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke about the growing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women on the Senate floor Thursday.
She is urging action on the Not Invisible Act, a bill she helped introduce with Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., earlier this year.
“Not Invisible Act designates an official to coordinate efforts across agencies and establishes a commission of local tribal and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice on how to combat this epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime, and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives,” Murkowski said.
During her speech, she mentioned the most recent case in Anchorage involving a man accused of murder two Alaska Native women, Kathleen Henry and Veronica Abouchuk.
"The rate of sex violence victimization among Alaska Native women is at least seven times greater than non-native females in the state," Murkowski said. "So think about that. There is an unprecedented level of victimization, of assault, of violence, of murder that is experienced by Alaska Native women. And these are statistics that really should shock the conscience.”
Murkowski said more needs to be done to increase public safety in Alaska's smallest villages, some of which have no law enforcement presence.
"When you don't have law enforcement, when there's nobody there who can administer justice, who can be the law effectively, it's a safe place for bad people to go and do bad things," Murkowski added.
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a legislative hearing on the Not Invisible Act in June.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, resources are available on the Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) website or by calling the statewide crisis hotline at (800) 478-8999.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.