Navajo Nation leaders commend new laws to address crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2018/04/21: Canadian First Nations occupy the Old City Hall in protest to diverse social issues they are facing. Sign themed on the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada. (Photo by Roberto Machado N

Navajo Nation leaders are praising lawmakers after two laws were signed to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the United States.

President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer commended Donald Trump for signing the Savanna's Act and the Not Invisible Act into law, according to a statement on Oct. 10.

Savanna's Act creates new guidelines for responding to cases of murdered or missing Indigenous women, while the Not Invisible Act creates an advisory committee consisting of tribal leaders, law enforcement, survivors and other organizations to provide their own recommendations to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

“We certainly thank the members of the House and Senate and President Trump for supporting these new laws that will help many tribes and families in Indian Country," said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer. "We have heard many stories and firsthand accounts of our people who have gone missing and/or have been murdered and many families continue to suffer from the resulting trauma and heartache."

According to the statement, Savanna's Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a Spirit Lake Tribe member in North Dakota who went missing while she was 8 months pregnant. Her body was found eight days later, with her baby cut out from her womb.

“Today is a historic day for all tribes across the country," said President Nez. "We recognize ... members of Congress, tribal leaders, and grassroot advocates who fought long and hard to push these important measures over the finish line to help bring an end to the ongoing losses of life."

Indigenous women are murdered at a rate ten times higher than the national average, according to the statement. However, it is difficult to collect accurate data on missing Native women because of a lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies and inadequte data systems.

"In 2018, the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) completed a landmark survey, reporting 5,712 missing Alaska Native and American Indian women and girls, only 116 of whom were registered in the Department of Justice database," the statement reads.

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters