Following on the heels of U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s Friday’s rollout of the federal strategic plan to address the epidemic of violence related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday.
Barr and several administrative officials and American Indians were present when Trump signed the executive order.
“It is my honor to sign an executive order... to address a tragedy facing Native American communities, the crisis of missing American Indians and Alaska Natives, in particular women and children,” President Trump said. “It’s a problem that has been going on a long time, many, many decades — beyond that. We’re going to address it very strongly... The statistics are sobering and heart breaking... The victims and their families deserve action and this should’ve happened many years ago... We will leverage every resource we have to bring safety to our tribal communities and we will not waver in this mission... It’s a very serious problem, it’s a horrible problem.”
The executive order officially establishes the interagency task force led by the Department of Justice and Department of Interior charged with addressing the issue.
“With Operation Lady Justice we will bring new hope to Native American communities across the nation,” Trump said. “We will deliver justice for the victims, closure to the families, and safety for those in harm’s way.”
Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota was on hand for the signing and spoke at Trump’s request.
“It’s my honor and privilege today to be here with the signing because we cannot have this happen anymore, she said. “It’s a historical day — to know that our missing and murdered women have a place and a remembrance, and that we care about them and their families. Mr. President, thank you very much.”