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Pilot program launched in Montana for missing indigenous persons

Posted at 11:06 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 13:06:39-05

PABLO - The US Department of Justice and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) are launching a pilot program taking a new, and much more comprehensive approach to helping solve cases involving missing and murdered indigenous persons (MMIP).

U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme joined the CSKT Council on Tuesday in announcing the development of a Tribal Community Response Plan, which will use a very specific approach targeting MMIP cases.

The effort comes in response to Savanna's Act and other federal measures but is also a direct response to the still-unsolved disappearance of Jermain Charlo, who vanished two years ago, as well as other cases that have sparked concern on Montana reservations.

The goal of the effort is to not only coordinate case efforts between federal, tribal, and local law enforcement but to do so with "culturally appropriate" guidelines, recognizing the difference in each tribal structure.

"And these guidelines are designed to be versatile enough to fit into each individual tribal community," CSKT Chairwoman Shelly Fyant said. "We know that tribal communities differ according to our own cultures and our own assets. The resources that we have available to use. So we're just so excited to continue our efforts in working on this."

The Tribal Community Response Plan should be complete by Dec. 11 and will be the first completed in the U.S. with the details being used to help fashion plans in other tribal communities across the country.