WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal officials last week put the spotlight on missing and murdered indigenous women, and native women who are victims of crime.
Meanwhile, the Omak High School soccer team took up the cause of missing and murdered indigenous women.
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-4th District, led a special order on the House floor to urge congressional action to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.
“Native American women face a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average, and native communities in central Washington and across the country are desperate for solutions,” said Newhouse. “For months, my colleagues and I have been calling for hearings on important legislation that would provide relief to tribes, law enforcement and loved ones who are dealing with this crisis every day.”
He said he has seen first-hand how such injustices affect local communities “and I have vowed to exercise my position in Congress to help deliver justice to these women. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who joined me in the special order.”
In Spokane, William D. Hyslop, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, joined the Department of Justice in announcing awards totaling more than $273.4 million in grants to improve public safety, serve victims of crime, combat violence against women and support youth programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
The Colville Confederated Tribes was awarded $583,707 to support crime victims’ services.
The Yakama Nation received $3.08 million to support violence against women and crime victim services programs, public safety and community policing, and corrections and correctional alternative. The Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation was awarded $697,972 for justice systems, and alcohol and substance abuse programs.
“These grants will give tribal officials additional tools they need to fight violent crime, protect their citizens, serve crime victims, and deliver justice,” said Hyslop.
The Department of Justice also announced awards and other programming totaling $167.2 million in a set-aside program to serve victims of crime.
In Omak, Colville tribal member and sophomore Monique Samuels obtained permission for the Omak High School soccer team to wear missing and murdered indigenous women handprints during the Oct. 15 game to bring awareness to the situation, said her mother, Evelyn Van Brunt.
The Pioneers “played their hearts out … and represented an awesome cause,” she said. “Seeing them all brought proud mama tears to my eyes. I’m so proud of each and every one of them.”