Indianz.Com Video: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) #MMIW #NotInvisible
Nominations open for Not Invisible Act Commission for missing, murdered and trafficked Native relatives
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Indianz.Com

UPDATE: The Not Invisible Act Commission webpage is functional again.

The Biden administration is seeking nominations for the Not Invisible Act Commission to address missing, murdered and trafficked Native Americans.

The Not Invisible Act Commission is being created by the Not Invisible Act, a federal law. Members will focus on reducing violent crimes against American Indians and Alaska Natives and address the long-standing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, especially women and girls.

“The Interior and Justice Departments have a unique opportunity to marshal our resources to finally address the crisis of violence against Indigenous peoples,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a news release on Wednesday.

“Doing this successfully means seeking active and ongoing engagement from experts both inside and outside of the government, said Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna who is the first Native person to lead the Department of the Interior. “Incorporating Indigenous knowledge, Tribal consultation and the Commission that reflects members who know first-hand the needs of their people will be critical as we address this epidemic in Native American and Alaska Native communities.”

A notice being published in the Federal Register on Thursday describes the makeup of the 28-member commission. On the non-federal side, it will consist of tribal law enforcement, state and local law enforcement, a tribal court judge, tribal government representatives, health care and mental health practitioners, Indian organizations that focus on violence against women and children, survivors of human trafficking and family members of missing and murdered relatives.

“The Justice Department is committed to working with the Interior Department to address the persistent violence endured by Native American families and communities across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, the leader of the Department of Justice “The membership of the Commission must represent a diverse range of expertise, experience and perspectives, and we will consult with Tribal leaders who know best what their communities need to make them safer.”

Nominations and comments can be sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs central office in Washington, D.C. The deadline for any submissions is 45 days after August 5.

The Federal Register notice was signed by Bryan Newland, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior. He waits U.S. Senate confirmation to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

The BIA has established a webpage for the Not Invisible Act Commission although it did not appear to be functioning properly as of Wednesday mid-day. The bia.gov address listed in the Federal Register notice does not appear to be working either.

Additionally, four tribal consultations will take place virtually to solicit input about the Not Invisible Act. The schedule follows:

2-4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, August 31, 2021 [REGISTER]

2-4 p.m., ET, Thursday, September 2, 2021 [REGISTER]

2-4 p.m., ET, Wednesday, September 8, 2021 [REGISTER]

2-4 p.m. ET, Friday, September 10, 2021 [REGISTER]

The Not Invisible Act became law in October 2020, during the 116th Congress. Haaland introduced the U.S. House of Representatives version of the bill. It was the first piece of legislation to be sponsored by all four tribal citizens who were serving in Congress at the time.

Deb Haaland
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland addresses the Red Road to DC event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 29, 2021. Photo courtesy Red Road to DC


Interior and Justice Departments Take Next Steps in Implementation of Not Invisible Act
Announce Call For Nominations For Commission Members and Upcoming Tribal Consultations

The following is the text of an August 4, 2021, news release from the Department of the Interior.

WASHINGTON — The Departments of the Interior and Justice today announced the next steps in implementing of the Not Invisible Act, including the publication of a solicitation for nominations of non-federal members to join the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission will focus on reducing violent crimes against American Indians and Alaska Natives and address the long-standing missing and murdered Indigenous person crisis. The agencies are also moving forward with nation-to-nation conduct consultations with Tribal leaders related to the Commission and implementation of the Act.

The Not Invisible Act, sponsored by Secretary Deb Haaland when she served in Congress, mandates the creation of a Commission that includes representatives of Tribal, state and local law enforcement; Tribal judges; health care and mental health practitioners with experience working with Indian survivors of trafficking and sexual assault; urban Indian organizations focused on violence against women and children; Indian survivors of human trafficking; and family members of missing and murdered Indian people.

“The Interior and Justice Departments have a unique opportunity to marshal our resources to finally address the crisis of violence against Indigenous peoples,” said Secretary Haaland. “Doing this successfully means seeking active and ongoing engagement from experts both inside and outside of the government. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge, Tribal consultation and the Commission that reflects members who know first-hand the needs of their people will be critical as we address this epidemic in Native American and Alaska Native communities.”

“The Justice Department is committed to working with the Interior Department to address the persistent violence endured by Native American families and communities across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The membership of the Commission must represent a diverse range of expertise, experience and perspectives, and we will consult with Tribal leaders who know best what their communities need to make them safer.”

Congress unanimously passed the Not Invisible Act in October 2020 to increase intergovernmental coordination to identify and combat violent crime against Indians and on Indian lands. The Act calls for the Interior Department to coordinate prevention efforts, grants and programs related to missing and murdered Indigenous peoples.

The Commission must be composed of at least 28 federal and non-federal members who represent diverse experiences, backgrounds and geography, and who are able to provide balanced points of view with regard to the duties of the Commission. The Commission will hold hearings, take testimony and receive evidence to develop recommendations for the federal government to combat violent crime against Indians and within Indian lands.

More information is available at the Not Invisible Act website.

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