One of the most pressing human rights issues facing Indian Country is the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls as well as the trafficking of Native Women. I have worked extensively to raise awareness of this issue at the state level in Wyoming, Arizona and nationwide. Amongst the most staggering statistics is that on some reservations across this nation, Native Women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average and 84% have endured violence and assault in their lifetime, and 40 percent of women who are victims of sex trafficking identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, or First Nations.
I will advocate for the full passage of Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act, both critical pieces of legislation that would allow law enforcement to find the best practices in ensuring justice for women that are murdered, missing or trafficked. I advocated for the creation of the task force that was implemented into action by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and strongly believe that collaboration between tribal nations, law enforcement, and all partners are necessary to ensure fair and full justice for our Native women.
The Structure for Indian Healthcare Services has been flawed from its inception and has failed to adequately address the needs of Native Americans. We must reform IHS so that tribal health centers can have the best practices in place to ensure tribal members can receive quality health care services.
Tribal Nations often face jurisdictional issues in prosecuting those that commit felony crimes against their tribal members, including native women, within tribal boundaries. One major barrier is that the federal government fails to adequately prosecute non-Indian offenders on tribal lands. We must expand criminal jurisdiction over all persons committing crimes in Indian Country.
Only 67% of Native students graduate from high school--we must work to improve education for Native American students in public schools and Bureau of Indian Educations schools. I will also fight to ensure tribal colleges and universities receive federal funding, so that our students have every opportunity to pursue and achieve a quality education at all levels.