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Native, Indigenous, and Tribal Communities

Overview

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has outreach and awareness programming related to Native, Indigenous, and tribal communities. We continuously work to raise awareness around the missing child data we observe and our resources to support these communities. When a child goes missing, NCMEC has a full range of technical assistance and resources, available at no cost to tribal law enforcement, families, or caregivers.

 

Read our latest ten-year analysis of Missing Native American Children

An Analysis of Missing Native American Children 2012-2021

By the Numbers

Native American children comprised 415 of the 27,733 children reported missing to the National Center in 2021.

From 2012-2021, of the Native American children who were Endangered Runaways, 65% had two or more missing incidents, 45% reportedly suffered from mental illness, and 26% expressed suicidal behavior.

The latest data from our 10-year report indicates 99% of missing Native American child cases reported to NCMEC were resolved.

Analyzing the Data to Better Understand the Issue

An Analysis of Missing Native American Children 2012-2021
Native American Children Reported Missing to NCMEC 2009-2018

Raising Awareness

Resources for Native, Indigenous, and Tribal Communities

Providing Free Resources

Investigative Checklists:

This tool for tribal law enforcement was developed for the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) by the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP), in collaboration with NCMEC and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services. These checklists are designed to serve as a resource to first responders and investigators in the field. Core information is based on NCMEC's Law-Enforcement Guide to Case Investigation and Investigative Checklist, with input from experienced tribal investigators and cultural advisers.

Forensic Services:

NCMEC offers forensic services to law enforcement, medical examiners, and coroners to find missing children, identify unknown deceased children, and develop leads on child abduction homicides. The Forensic Services Unit works with subject matter experts from a wide array of forensic disciplines to develop recommendations and ensure all possible forensic resources have been considered (including free or reduced costs services). Learn how NCMEC is applying today’s technology to yesterday’s cases in our Forensics Services Unit Flyer.

Team Adam:

Team Adam provides rapid, on-site assistance to law enforcement (LE) agencies and families in critical cases of missing children and can support local tribal law enforcement’s efforts in long-term missing or unidentified cases. To apply to join Team Adam or learn more about this free resource, download and read our Team Adam flyer.

To request NCMEC representation at your training or conference event for free complete this form.

Building Understanding & Advocacy

The Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act:

The tragic 2016 abduction and murder of Ashlynne Mike in Shiprock, New Mexico brought national attention to the jurisdictional issues that can hinder the swift recovery of missing Native American children. Congress enacted the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2018, supported by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. This Act encourages integration of tribal AMBER Alert systems into state AMBER Alert systems and provides related grant funding.

Savannah’s Act:

Savanna’s Act became law on October 10, 2020. The bill is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota, who was murdered while she was eight months pregnant in August 2017. The Act aims to improve data collection of missing or murdered Native Americans, clarify the responsibilities of tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies responding to cases of missing or murdered Native Americans, and empower tribal governments with resources and information necessary to effectively respond to such cases. The Act also directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols to address missing and murdered Native Americans.

Not Invisible Act:

The Not Invisible Act of 2019 (NIA) became law on October 10, 2020. The Not Invisible Act complements Savanna’s Act, by identifying and combating violent crime within tribal lands and against Native American through the creation of a joint commission and advisory committee. In addition, the Department of the Interior (DOI) must designate an official within the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to coordinate prevention efforts, grants, and programs related to missing Indians and the murder and human trafficking of Indians. NIA aims to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked American Indians and Alaska Natives by engaging law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers, as well as improving coordination across federal agencies. 

Partnerships & Collaborations

All Nations Conference on Child Maltreatment:

NCMEC hosts and co-sponsors an annual conference in partnership with the Seneca Nation of Indians, Native American Children’s Alliance (NACA), Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (NRCAC), National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC), the New York State Children’s Alliance (NYSCA), and Native American Community Services. This two-day conference brings together attendees from across the US and Canada representing sovereign Tribal Nations, NGOs, multi-disciplinary team representatives and non-tribal professionals that provide services to children and families in Indian Country. Issues addressed include historical trauma, investigation, medical and mental health service provision, missing and murdered indigenous persons and cross-jurisdictional challenges. The cornerstone of the conference is networking and information sharing among and between tribal nations and service providers. To learn more about this conference email training@ncmec.org

 

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Tribal Access Program

NCMEC supports the training and resources provided through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Tribal Access Program (TAP). This program allows selected federally-recognized tribes to serve and protect their nation’s citizens by ensuring the exchange of critical data across the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) systems and other national crime information systems more effectively. When missing children are entered into the National Crime Information Center, NCMEC can provide technical assistance to Tribal law enforcement. Learn more about the benefits of TAP by visiting: https://www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap

NCMEC Tribal Fellowship

NCMEC’s Tribal Fellowship Program was created in 2021 to help build relationships and understanding within tribal communities. The year-long paid Fellowship is 100% remote to help ensure our programming has geographic, tribal, and professional diversity of perspective. The Fellow serves in a special advisor capacity and is responsible for meeting with stakeholders engaged in the search for missing Native & Indigenous children and presenting on NCMEC resources to multi-disciplinary audiences.

Watch a Video about this opportunity from NCMEC’s inaugural Tribal Fellow, Mark Pooley. Mr. Pooley is Navajo and Hopi and a retired law enforcement official who has dedicated his current professional work to helping to find Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. Mr. Pooley joined NCMEC because he wanted to bring NCMEC’s free resources to his Native people.

How to apply:

Each Fall, NCMEC will post the application for the Tribal Fellowship opportunity on our Careers Page.

2024 Tribal Fellowship Flyer