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Washington OKs 1st statewide missing Indigenous people alert

Jay Inslee
Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 18:01:48-04

TULALIP, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that creates a first-in-the-nation statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people.

The system is similar to Amber Alerts and so-called silver alerts, which are used respectively for missing children and vulnerable adults in many states.

The bill was spearheaded by the state's current and only Native American lawmaker, Debra Lekanoff, the Associated Press reported.

Washington's new Indigenous people alert system will notify law enforcement when there's a report of a missing Indigenous person.

It also will place messages on highway reader boards and on the radio and social media and will provide information to the press.

Also, on Thursday, Inslee signed another bill that would require county coroners or medical examiners to identify and notify murdered Indigenous people's families and return their remains.

The law attempts to address a crisis of missing Indigenous people — particularly women — in Washington state.

In December, the Bureau of Indian Affairs launched a website to help indigenous people cases.

The website will help connect those to the proper authorities who might have information about cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people.