Department of the Interior Starts ‘Missing & Murdered Indigenous Unit’

Wess Haubrich

Native-American women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than Non-Native women.
Department of the Interior Sec. HaalandThe Hill

This news item may have slipped below your radar this April as it was buried in the month’s news cycles.

April 1 announced something new in what is for many people an obscure level of government that they may not even know is still prescient: The Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The BIA is a part of the Department of the Interior. The BIA has been the agency tasked with negotiating and navigating very complex legal instruments (i.e. treaties) between indigenous tribes and Alaskan natives and the U.S. federal government.

With that in mind, the 197-year history of the BIA is far from perfect, especially considering just how horrible Native Americans have historically had it in the United States.

That legacy is hopefully kept in mind with the new “Missing and Murdered” Unit formed by Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Operation Lady Justice

On November 26, 2019 President Trump signed Executive Order 13898 which formed the Task Force of Missing and Murdered Indigenous and Alaskan Natives (AI\AN), also known as Operation Lady Justice (OLJ).

OLJ is there to “enhance the criminal justice system and address the legitimate concerns of AI/AN communities, regarding missing and murdered people – specifically missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.”

This is a welcomed change that should have happened earlier: by the DOJ’s own estimate, Native American women and girls are ten times more likely to be murdered than their non-Native counterparts.

The MMU is the new tip of the administrative spear for current and cold investigations. Their main goal is to create all the necessary committees, task forces, etc. to transcend jurisdictions and leverage all available local resources to solve and close more of these cases.

OLJ operates seven offices in Minnesota, Montana, Tennessee, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, and Alaska.
One sheet of statistics on the problem.Urban Indian Health Institute

Missing & Murdered Indigenous (hashtag #MMIWG2S)

Do you have information that could help investigators? Submit a tip through Tip411 anonymously. Text keyword BIAMMU and your tip to 847411.

Journalist and dogged student of all things forensic, Wess Haubrich, examines the nitty, gritty details you didn't know about famous (and not so famous but equally weird) crimes and their unseen motivations. Thanks for reading!

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact:


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