"The demographics, we believe, do not reflect the number of native women who are subject to violence, even murder..."
That statement from State Senator Janet Bewley, who was joined by state Representatives Beth Meyers and Amanda Stuck at a press conference at Lac du Flambeau Wednesday.
Those three legislators, along with Representative Jeff Mursau will introduce a bill to create a task force on missing and murdered tribal women and girls.
Bewley says the state has poor statistics on the matter, with estimates that tribal women face violence and abuse 10 times the national average. She says it has taken too long for the legislature to act on this.
Renee Grawlewicz, a UW-Oshkosh professor and member of the Brothertown Nation near Fond du Lac says she was asked to put together a presentation and was shocked at what she found..
"...We were doing research for a presentation on Wisconsin tribes, Wisconsin natives, and we came across this horrific data of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls..."
The National Crime Information Center reports in 2016 there were 5,700 missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls.
Representative Beth Meyers lives on the Red Cliff reservation..
"...My children are Red Cliff Tribal members, everyone of my nieces are Red Cliff tribal members. This issue is not just important to me as a legislator, but it is near and dear to my heart...."
Bewley says the bill creating the task force will go to committee in Madison first for consideration. In Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, they established the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in September 2016.
The legislators attended the Sexual Assault-Domestic Violence Tribal Directors meeting at Lake of the Torches Casino.