HB 1199 would establish an office to help find Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A bill calling for more resources in the search for Missing and Murdered Indigenous people has moved its way through the South Dakota state legislature this session. House Bill 1199 passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and it is set to be read on the Senate floor on Monday.

According to Friday’s data from the South Dakota Missing Persons Clearinghouse from the Office of the Attorney General, there are 107 missing people in South Dakota.

70 of those are Indigenous people, and 41 of those are Indigenous women. House Bill 1199 would set up the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons to help find people. Democrat Representative Peri Pourier from Pine Ridge is the bill’s prime sponsor.

“The data speaks volumes. The data says that this is not just a tribal reservation issue. This goes across jurisdictions. Indigenous women and children are highly vulnerable because of the gaps in jurisdictions and South Dakota has a lot of isolated areas. So it’s a very vulnerable population,” Rep. Peri Pourier (D) Pine Ridge said.

The South Dakota Missing Person’s Clearinghouse lists 55 missing Indigenous children who went missing at the age of 18 or younger.

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