MSUM discussion panel tackles issues among Indigenous communities

The Forum’s Chris Hagen wrote an impactful story about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons panel discussion MSUM hosted on May 5.

By C.S. Hagen
May 05, 2023 at 8:10 PM

MOORHEAD — A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes since the passing of Savanna’s Act, said a group of speakers on Friday, May 5, a day known as National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.

Change, however, has been faster in Minnesota than in North Dakota, said Ruth Buffalo and Anne LaFrinier-Ritchie, two of the four speakers at a panel discussion at Minnesota State University Moorhead before an audience of about 60 people.

“Minnesota has been doing some cool stuff,” said LaFrinier-Ritchie, a Safe Harbor regional navigator for Someplace Safe in West Central Minnesota. The state has a task force that has begun compiling a database and is working to make hundreds of recommendations on how to stop what they call a crisis targeting Indigenous people, she added.

Savanna’s Act, which passed in 2020, aims to improve the federal response to missing or murdered Indigenous people by increasing coordination among federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies, according to Indian Law Resource Center . The Act is named after Fargo resident Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Spirit Lake Tribe who was murdered in 2017 while eight months pregnant.

“Minnesota is night and day to North Dakota,” said Buffalo, a former North Dakota state representative. “In Minnesota it took them two tries to get their task force passed into law. We go into Minnesota looking at it like the promised land with all the good things happening

Read the full story at Inforum.