What is the Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force?

Photo by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In late March of 2022, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee instituted House Bill 1725 that developed a statewide emergency alert system for missing Indigenous people. This bill marked the first emergency alert system of its kind in the country and the state.  

The United States’ prevalent reporting disparities prevent an accurate and comprehensible number of missing and murdered Indigenous people in the United States. Such disparities are due to relational tensions of law enforcement as well as jurisdictional outlines on a national and state level.  

“In Washington, more than four times as many Indigenous women go missing than white women,” according to Gillian Flaccus and Ted S. Warren with the Associated Press. Unfortunately, as Flaccus and Warren highlight, a majority of these cases are given no media platform to raise awareness about the missing women.

The Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force (MMIW/P) is a group that developed after the bill provided funding for tribal police. MMIW/P hosts meetings every month aimed at providing actionable support for those associated with the cause of providing an accurate number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people. The task force is currently in the process of developing their findings and is said to present two official reports to Washington’s Governor and Legislature. The first report will be presented in August of 2022, and the second report in June of 2023. 

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