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Statement by IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day

Today, I want to recognize Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. This is a day to remember and honor the lives of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. Our communities have been deeply affected by our missing and murdered relatives. Native people are resilient, and we must show our support to prevent the violence that has devastated so many of our communities. The Biden Administration has shown its support for tribal nations on this important issue, and under the leadership of Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, we now have an opportunity to bring the needed resources and attention to stop the violence that plague our communities.

The contributing factors of the MMIP crisis require the attention of leaders at all levels of government in collaboration with Native American communities. The Indian Health Service will continue to support these efforts through our participation and support of the White House Council on Native American Affairs and the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. Recognizing the ties between domestic and sexual violence, trafficking and MMIP, the IHS supports our communities through our nationally-funded Domestic Violence Prevention and Forensic Health Care programs and continues to work to improve the way we document and screen suspected human trafficking. Today, I am also announcing that the IHS senior advisor, Elizabeth Carr, will lead our agency’s efforts to address MMIP. We look forward to working with the Administration as we end the MMIP crisis using a public health and safety approach.