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Activists rally for bills focused on solving cold cases for missing indigenous women

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KOCO) — The goal of a rally Monday at the Oklahoma Capitol was to help solve cold cases of missing Native American women by pushing bills, including Ida’s Law.

Activists said one of the big problems of solving cases of Native American women who have gone missing or have been killed is the difficulty of different levels of law enforcement communicating when something happens on tribal land. With Ida’s Law, which was named after a Cheyenne Arapaho woman who has been missing for years, Cheyenne Arapaho Tribes Gov. Reggie Wassana hopes people will hear her story.

“She has not been heard from. She has not been found,” Wassana said. “So, this bill would help some of those cold cases come about and bring awareness that there are still people out there missing.”

Ida’s Law would add a new job in OSBI that would coordinate cold cases like Ida’s. The proposed law is important because studies have shown Native American women are killed or go missing at higher rates than others.

One issue is the fact that major crimes on tribal land are investigated by the FBI, and collaboration between the bureau, tribal police and local police departments can be difficult. Wassano hopes Ida’s Law would help solve that and send a message.

“It would mean that there is awareness, that people are concerned and that some of these ladies who are missing or who are murdered actually have somebody fighting for them even as they are gone,” Wassana said.

Ida’s Law is expected to be heard in committee this month. Activists also are pushing a bill to increase law enforcement training and a bill that would have an alert for missing indigenous women similar to Amber Alerts.

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