On Tuesday, November 26, President Donald J. Trump issues an Executive Order establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
President Trump stated, “It is my honor to sign an executive order — we’re going to be doing it right now — to address a tragedy facing Native American communities: the crisis of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, in particular women and children. It’s a tremendous problem. It’s been going on for a long time — many, many decades, beyond that. And we’re going to address it. We’ve addressed it very strongly.
We’re grateful to be joined by Attorney General William Barr, Secretary David Bernhardt, other members of my administration, and several terrific Native American leaders. These are great leaders.
The statistics are sobering and heartbreaking. Recently, more than 5,000 Native American women and girls were reported missing in a single year. While the majority return home or are found, too many are still missing and their whereabouts are unknown — and they usually don’t find them.
One study showed that Native American women in certain tribal communities are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the average American. The victims and their families deserve action. And this should have happened many years ago.
With my order today, we’re launching Operation Lady Justice — an interagency task force led by Attorney General Barr and Secretary Bernhardt to develop an aggressive, government-wide strategy to end this terrible situation. The Department of Justice will also be issuing grants to improve safety in Native American communities.
We will leverage every resource we have to bring safety to our tribal communities, and we will not waver in this mission. We’re taking this very seriously. This has never been done before. And I’ve seen it, just by reading and watching the news — it’s a very serious problem. It’s a horrible problem.
This is only the latest action my administration has taken to support American Indians and Alaska Natives. I signed legislation restoring benefits that were unfairly taken away from Alaska Natives serving in Vietnam. In March, I launched an initiative to improve the health and safety of children in the care of Indian Health Service. And in September, we hosted the first-ever National Tribal Broadband Summit. And earlier this month, the White House hosted the first-ever Native American Veterans Conference. Some of the folks in the room were there.
With Operation Lady Justice, we will bring new hope to Native American communities across the nation. We will deliver justice for the victims, closure for the families, and safety to those in harm’s way. And on behalf of every missing or murdered Native American woman and child, I am going to sign this order, and it will be a great honor to be signing this order. And thank you all for being here. Thank you very much.”
The signing of the Executive Order can be viewed, here: