Statistics Show Native Americans Disappear Disproportionately — And There Are Federal Officials Investigating

When tragedy strikes on one of the 324 federally recognized reservations across the country and a Native American is killed or goes missing, most of these cases are within federal jurisdiction, requiring federal agencies to investigate. Law enforcement is required.

And statistics show that these communities see a disproportionate amount of violence and disappearances. According to the Congressional Research Service in January 2022, more than 82% of American Indian and Alaska Native men and women reported experiences of violent harassment in their lifetime. According to the National Crime Information Centre, at least 9,575 missing cases were registered in 2020.

In recent years, grassroots advocates as well as families of missing and killed Indigenous people have pushed federal officials to set up task forces and pass legislation to address the crisis.

Those federal authorities – such as the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs – are responsible for investigating major crimes as a result of the approximately 400 treaties that the United States government signed with Native tribes since 1787, when the federal government, according to Stephens, began to protect Native peoples. promised to protect. Pewar, author of “The Rights of Indians and Tribes” and an expert on Indian law.

And crimes in these jurisdictions are prosecuted by United States Attorneys across the country. But according to a recent Justice Department report, in 2018 prosecutors declined to prosecute nearly 40% of all federal Indian country cases — representing nearly 1,000 potential federal crimes — citing “insufficient evidence” as the most common. Citing it as a possible argument.

This means that there was no justice for the victims of 73 alleged murders, 373 physical assaults and 279 sexual assaults in India in one year.

But even if the investigation is questionable, a lot can still go wrong in the pursuit of justice for the victims.

For more than a year, CBS News followed a federal law enforcement investigation into the death of Christy Woodenthy, a 33-year-old mother of three who lived on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana.

Christie’s sister, Aleida Spang, heard on the morning of March 7, 2020, that Christie had allegedly been crushed to death outside her home. But almost immediately, Christie’s family began to question law enforcement’s response.

When Spang arrived at Christie’s house a few hours later, she said she immediately sensed something was wrong. Spang told CBS News, “We expected like a crime scene — the tape, the officers still there — because it happened just a few hours ago.”

So starting that night at Christie’s house, Aleida and her family go looking for answers and begin a months-long process of trying to find justice for their sister.

The first two episodes of the “Missing Justice” podcast follow Christy’s family and friends as they pursue justice for their sister.

Audiences will be taken inside the complex federal justice system in Indian Country and how the system worked for Christie and her family. Afterwards, listeners of “Missing Justice” would hear an audio recording from investigators on the Christie case and were taken inside the courtroom where they testified to a jury detailing the investigation.

But the shocking revelations made by federal agents have left Christie’s family with more questions than answers about what happened to their sister.

“Missing Justice” episodes will be released every Tuesday between November 22 and December 20.

If you have a story or would like to contact Missing Justice reporters, please email,

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