SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — According to the South Dakota Attorney General’s directory of missing persons, as of March 28, there are 90 missing persons in the state. Sixty-two of them are Indigenous; nearly 70%.
Of those 62 missing Indigenous persons, 47 of them (76%) were 18-years-old or younger at the time they went missing. Of those 47, 30 are female.
According to a report from the Urban Indian Health Institute, data on missing and murdered indigenous women in cities is difficult to find. Two researchers from the institute asked 71 cities for data on missing or murdered indigenous women. 60 percent either didn’t respond or only had partial data. It turns out many didn’t keep track of race.
A new bill, sponsored by Rep. Peri Pourier (D) of Pine Ridge and signed March 25 by Governor Kristi Noem, will form the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. This office will help with finding missing people as well as supply training for finding them.
“This is something that is needed. This is a way of raising the alarms and raising red flags, waving them loud. ‘Hey, this is a problem,’ and this bill is a step towards a solution,” Pourier said.