Ivanka Trump visits office for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women cold cases

Created: July 27, 2020 10:49 PM

Advisor to the president Ivanka Trump visited Minnesota Monday, along with U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney, to announce the creation of the first of seven offices dedicated to solving cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.


There are more than 1,400 unsolved American Indian and Alaska Native missing person cases in the U.S. More than 130 of those cases are in Minnesota, according to FBI statistics. 

“These tragic statistics simply unacceptable,” said Ivanka Trump. “This presidential task force is pushing forward with its mandate to review Indian Country cold cases, strengthen law enforcement protocols and training, work with tribes to improve investigations, information-sharing and responses to missing persons investigations.”

While the President’s daughter was joined by some Native American groups, others protested outside.

State Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein is the author and chair of the state’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, which was established in 2019 with bipartisan support. She said no one contacted them about President Trump’s new initiative, despite a year’s worth of work on the issue.

“It leads to question why they wouldn’t reach out to us when they’re working on this, planning it, why they wouldn’t include us in the formation of it. What we object to is not being a part of the decision-making or the process of developing this,” Rep. Kunesh-Podein said. “Our women are not for show. This whole effort sort of smacks of political ploy.”

“We were never brought to the table of justice. We were always kind of pushed in the corner,” added Great Grandmother Mary Lyons, an elder of the Ojibwe Nation. “We are the voices of this land and we will not be silenced.”

“While visiting the great state of Minnesota with Secretary Bernhardt, we are advancing two top priorities for the Administration: The Pledge to America’s Workers and supporting American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” Trump said.

Trump and Bernhardt also visited Duluth and the company Duluth Pack to promote the president's pledge to America's workers, and the establishment of the National Council for the American Worker.



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