Sen. Murkowski urges government to respond to missing, murdered indigenous women, girls report

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Alaska Sentator Lisa Murkowski was a part of a press conference today that focused on a recent report by the 'Urban Indian Health Institute' regarding missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Researchers from the Seattle based Institute used media reports, public records and police records to compile a list of 506 cases of missing or murdered indigenous women and girls. The report looked at 71 cities and 29 states. Seven cities in Alaska were a part of the report.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said, "Well, when it comes to missing and murdered women, Anchorage is in the top ten of the 71 urban centers that were surveyed. Anchorage came in at number three. The state of Alaska ranks number four."

Fairbanks had six cases comprised in the report, including the 1993 murder of Sophie Sergie on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The cases range all the way back to 1943, but according to the report, two-thirds of the cases are from 2010 to 2018. Despite the high number of reported events, the institute strongly believes there are far more cases in the areas of study, and Alaska's Senator Lisa Murkowski agrees.

"The challenge that the urban center had in gathering these statics is part of the problem we are dealing with," she said.

The report was released as congress has begun looking at ratifying Savanna's Act, which aims to expand tribal access to federal data bases. Murkowski has expressed her support for the bill, but she says it can't stop there.

"Our statistics should shock the conscious, should disturb us and should motivate to do more," Sen. Murkowski said.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved Savanna's Act earlier Wednesday. The act would set mandates for federal law enforcement, which has some jurisdiction over crimes on reservations and other tribal lands but not municipalities such as Fairbanks or Anchorage.

To see the full report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, go to www.uihi.org.