President Biden proclaimed May 5 as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day in memory of the birthday of Hanna Harris, a 21-year-old Native woman from the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana who went missing on July 4, 2013.
When reported missing by her family, law enforcement did not immediately respond. Four days later a volunteer search party discovered her body. Eventually, it was learned Hanna had been raped and beaten to death, and those responsible were prosecuted in federal court.
Every year, the majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) reported missing are youth under the age of 18. In 2022, among AI/AN missing persons reported by law enforcement in the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC), 74 percent of females and 61 percent of males were minors. While most AI/AN youth are recovered safely, all may be endangered.
"The fact that children under the age of 18 comprise the majority of missing American Indians and Alaska Natives is not widely known," said OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan. "We need to focus our efforts on assisting Tribes and other communities to help solve the underlying problems that lead these children to go missing."