Authors Call for Hearings on Legislation Addressing Violence Against Tribal Women and Girls
Two legislative committees have been assigned bills authored by Northwoods legislators to hold hearings on creating a task force to examine factors contributing to violence against tribal women and girls.
State Senator Janet Bewley of Mason, and Representatives Beth Meyers of Bayfield and Amanda Stuck of Appleton brought forth the measures.
The three Democrats presented the bills to a recent meeting in Lac du Flambeau.
Bewley says getting information is key...
"...It seeks to get data, to get information and to engage Indigenous women and representatives of the tribes to decide what we can do about this. Getting the data, getting the participation of the tribes is the first very important step...."
Bewley says the data then would be presented in a report to the legislature and the tribes. Data from the US Department of Justice shows that tribal women and girls face murder rates of more than 10 times the national average.
Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for indigenous females between the ages of 10 and 24 years old....
"...Where is the discrepancy, why are we not finding that missing Indigenous women are not being reported and therefore not actively pursued? If we don't know how serious the problem is, and know what kinds of things are being done, how can we get better at it?..."
The bills have been assigned to committee.
In the state Senate, it was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection, and in the Assembly it was assigned to the Assembly Committee on State Affairs which is chaired by Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander.
The legislators are asking the respective Chairs of these committees to hold public hearings on the bills and Bewley hopes there's public support for the hearings.