I commend Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent signing of Senate Bill 172, also known as Ida’s Law, on April 20. However, it does not go into effect until Nov. 1.
This is a great feat for our state to help combat the concerns of our country regarding missing and murdered Indigenous people, but the fight does not stop here.
While Ida’s Law helps address the protocols for assisting families and communities for future reports, there are thousands of families still needing answers and closure for their loved ones who are already missing.
What is being done for our American Indian and Alaska Native people now?
Collaboration amongst agencies has stifled accurate reporting due to concerns of jurisdiction.
According to Urban Indian Health Institute, there were 5,712 known incidents of missing Indigenous women in 2016. Of those, only 116 were logged in the Department of Justice database.
What does this say to our American Indian and Alaska Native community? Are their lives not as important as others are?
These families deserve a certainty to their pain in order to escape a place of ambiguity. Be the change and advocate for our sisters and brothers.
My hope is that the state of Oklahoma implements strategies, resources and funding into helping families already affected by this epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Maureen Motte, Glenpool
Editor's Note: Ida's Law directs the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate efforts for addressing the issue of missing and murdered Oklahoma indigenous people. It is named for 29-year-old Ida Beard of El Reno, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, who has been missing since 2015.
Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to tulsaworld.com/opinion/submitletter.