U.S. attorneys and tribal leaders in Oklahoma on Monday released details of their recent efforts to find missing indigenous people.
Oklahoma is the first state to launch a new pilot that could ultimately help other states with their missing person cases.
The pilot program is being led by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Cherokee Nation in partnership with the US law firms in the Northern and Eastern Districts.
The pilot program includes the implementation of the guidelines of the “Tribal Community Response Plan”. The guidelines of the Tribal Community Response Plan are for developing public relations, working with law enforcement agencies, victim services, and communicating with the media and the public.
US Attorney Shores said these guidelines of the Tribal Community Response Plan are operational immediately and adjustments could be made over the next few months.
“It’s not that we haven’t tried to create a lot of these particular protocols that are under development, but now we’re actually going to write guidelines for anyone to see,” Shores said.
At a press conference Monday, Chuck Hoskin Jr., chief of the Cherokee Nation, said the problem of the missing and murdered Native Americans “plagues the entire Indian land.
“Cherokee culture teaches us that every life, every human being is precious and sacred. Their existence should be treated as such. And if one of us falls or one of us is absent, the rest of us should gather together and do something about it , find this person and remember how holy they are, ”he said.
According to Shores, there are currently 65 missing persons in Oklahoma that involve an Indian or Alaskan Native.
Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, and Montana will all launch similar programs in the coming weeks. Shores said he believed Oklahoma was chosen because of the tribal leadership here to do so before any other state.