WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced today the launch of its new website dedicated to solving missing and murdered cases in Indian Country. The tool draws attention to unresolved cases involving indigenous persons that the BIA, Office of Justice Services, Missing and Murdered Unit (MMU) is working on and invites the public to help law enforcement solve those cases. Today’s announcement comes as Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland participates in a panel on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Crisis at the Western Governors Association Winter Meeting.
“The Missing and Murdered Indigenous peoples crisis has plagued Indian Country for too long, with cases often going unsolved and unaddressed,” said Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. “This new website represents a new tool in the effort to keep communities safe and provide closure for families.”
“This is an important new resource that connects those who might have case information with the investigating agency and agent -- speeding feedback to address the legitimate concerns of our Native communities,” said Jason O’Neal, Deputy Bureau Director, Justice Services.
Under Secretary Deb Haaland’s leadership, Interior is committed to working with Tribal governments, law enforcement agencies, survivors, families of the missing, and all communities impacted to coordinate interagency collaboration to address this crisis. Within the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration, Secretary Haaland created the MMU to pursue justice for missing or murdered Indigenous people.
The new site provides detailed case information that can be easily shared, and three pathways to submit important tips and other case information that may help investigators with the detection or investigation of an offense committed in Indian Country.
The site also contains information regarding how to submit tips or case information that may help investigators. For some tips, BIA offers rewards for information assisting in the detection or investigation of an offense committed in Indian country or in the arrest of an offender against the United States. The standard reward may be up to $5,000, depending on the specific details provided. BIA may increase the amount conditional on the circumstances.
Additionally, an important feature of the site is its connectivity to the National Missing and Unidentified Person’s System and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Indian Country Case Web site, which aims to enhance the Missing and Murdered Unit’s ability to connect cases that involve American Indian and Alaska Native people.
To view BIA’s new missing and murdered cases website, visit https://www.bia.gov/service/mmu.
The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues, communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA), provides leadership in consultations with Tribes, and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on matters concerning American Indians and Alaska Natives and the federally recognized Tribes in the United States.
The mission of the BIA Office of Justice Services (OJS) is to uphold Tribal sovereignty and provide for the safety of Indian communities by ensuring the protection of life and property, enforcing laws, maintaining justice and order, and by ensuring that sentenced American Indian offenders are confined in safe, secure, and humane environments. Ensuring public safety and justice is arguably the most fundamental of government services provided in Tribal communities. Visit the OJS website for more information.