Stanton Asks FBI Director to Improve Tribal Representation on Task Force for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

February 6, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rep. Greg Stanton questioned FBI Director Christopher A. Wray about the agency’s efforts to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Stanton began his questions by asking about representation from tribal leaders and Indigenous survivors on the task force the Administration created in November.  Currently, the task force, “Operation Lady Justice,” only includes representatives of federal agencies.

“Sound policy recommendations are created when directly-impacted people are at the table sharing their experiences and giving their input,” Stanton said.

Wray agreed with Stanton but stopped short of committing to add tribal voices to the task force, deferring the matter to the Department of Justice which has jurisdiction over the FBI.

“The details about the task force are ones that are better referred to the Department,” Wray sad. “I will tell you that I believe strongly, which I think is the heart of your question, about the importance of hearing directly from tribal leaders.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that Native American women face murder rates more than 10 times higher than the national average. And four out of five Native women are affected by violence in their lifetimes.

Arizona has the third-highest number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and one-third of those murders go unreported to the FBI.

Stanton noted that two bills, Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act, support comprehensive solutions to the violence epidemic. He asked that the Judiciary Committee consider and advance both pieces of legislation.

Video of Stanton’s comments and questions to Director Wray is available here: