Both Republicans and Democrats in the State Capitol want Congress to pass Savanna’s Act.
The resolution cites homicide being the third leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women between 10 and 24. It’s the fifth leading cause of death for that same group of women between 25 and 34.
Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna Lafontaine Greywind, a Spirit Lake Tribal member that went missing in Fargo when she was 8-months pregnant. Nine days later, she was found dead and her child was abducted by the woman who later confessed to Savanna’s murder.
The bill would give tribes more access to federal crime information databases when it comes to missing people.
State lawmakers identified several inconsistencies when it comes to missing people, especially missing Native women.
In 2016, the National Crime Information Center reported 5,712 cases of missing Native women and girls. That same year, the U.S. Department of Justice only had 116 cases of missing Native women; nine fewer than the entire state of North Dakota reported missing according to the National Crime Information Center.
Savanna’s Act would also improve cooperation between tribal, federal, state and local law enforcement.
Savanna’s Act was originally introduced by former Senator Heidi Heitkamp. It unanimously passed the Senate 99-0, but stalled in the House. It’s now been re-introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R – Alaska). Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer are co-sponsors.
The bill will be heard Wednesday, February 6th details are as follows:
House Human Services
10:15 am – Ft. Union Room