WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer commended Reps. Deb Haaland, Pueblo of Laguna, D-N.M., Tom Cole, Chickasaw Nation, R-Okla., Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, D-Kan., and Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee Nation, R-Oka., for their bold leadership in introducing H.R. 2438, the Not Invisible Act of 2019.
The bill will establish an advisory committee on violent crime to combat the epidemic of missing persons, murder, and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
The measure also calls for law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, Native survivors and their families to make recommendations to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Justice to create best practices for law enforcement for jurisdictional organization and improve coordination across federal agencies through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“This bipartisan bill, introduced for the first time by four lawmakers who are citizens of federally recognized tribes, aims to combat human trafficking and violent crimes against of our sacred women and girls across Indian Country and urban Indian communities. We thank the Native American Congressional Delegation for their leadership in taking a stand to protect Indigenous women and girls,” President Nez said.
Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez and Second Lady Dottie Lizer applauded the bill and underscored their efforts in combating domestic violence, addressing missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and vigorously advocating for the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act as a top priority.
“I commend the Native American delegation for sponsoring H.R. 2438, to protect our women and girls by placing them at the forefront of their priorities. I encourage leadership to support this effort, and I look forward to working with them as we address sexual violence and trafficking in Navajo communities. The protection of all our Diné relatives is critical,” said First Lady Nez.
“Coordinating efforts among federal agencies to combat the disproportionately high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and murder that we face across Indian Country is a step forward in the right direction. We urge lawmakers to take swift action and enact this into law,” Vice President Lizer said.