House passes bill seeking data on missing indigenous people

Published 02-05-2019

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House has passed bipartisan legislation intended to collect data on missing and murdered Native Americans in North Dakota.

Representatives voted 90-2 on Tuesday to approve the measure sponsored by Fargo Democratic Rep. Ruth Buffalo. She is the first female Native American Democrat elected to the state Legislature.

Buffalo says the state does not collect data on missing people and the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is a "nationwide crisis."

Buffalo also is sponsoring a bill that would require more law enforcement training related to missing and murdered Native Americans.

Buffalo's bills mirror Savanna's Act, which was introduced by former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. That proposal came in response to the August 2017 death of Spirit Lake Tribe member Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who disappeared in Fargo.

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