MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN MOVEMENT — Mary Lee Jones “Smunitee” embraces Carolyn DeFord-Eden, Puyallup Tribe of Indians Sr. Administrative Assistant after taking part in the panel discussion about Savanna’s Act, hosted by Rep. Dan Newhouse on Thursday, May 30, at the Yakima Chamber of Commerce.

YAKIMA — A powerful message from people seeking justice and closure for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) was shared during a panel discussion about Savanna’s Act, hosted by Rep. Dan Newhouse on Thursday, May 30, at the Yakima Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of the small gathering was to focus on some of the influential work that’s going on by people gathered here, with a goal to make real change.

The MMIW issue, which runs deep throughout the lower valley, is surging in momentum to connect the truth with a nation.

“I’m very grateful for a lot of people in this room that have been helping to bring this to the forefront and to try to do something about it, and to make some real changes,” Newhouse stated.

Rep. Gina Mosbrucker was in attendance and she updated the panel about her work in the Washington state legislature.

The 14th District representative authored House Bill 1713, which was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on April 24 and sets up two tribal liaisons within the Washington State Patrol to help in the investigations of missing and murdered indigenous people.

The Washington House of Representatives member from Goldendale reported that nine states have passed the Bill already, and Canada is writing similar legislation to the work being performed in Washington state.

“We need to do something on a national level. This is not just a local problem, but it’s all over the country,” Newhouse said.

He spoke about recent bills that have been introduced in Congress to try and make this more of a national effort — Savanna’s Act, which is a bill meant to address the missing and murdered indigenous women’s crisis.

During the 115th United States Congress, Newhouse said a version of Savanna’s Act was introduced and passed the Senate only to get stuck in the House.

There was one more request Newhouse made of the impassioned collective, and that was to join him in inviting Natural Resources and Judiciary Committee members to a field hearing in Washington state, specifically Yakima County.

He thought this environment would be an ideal place to educate members of Congress about the powerful MMIW movement.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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