Lt. Gov. Flanagan on missing and murdered indigenous women

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan sits for a portrait at the MPR studio.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan sits for a portrait at the MPR studio on Friday, March 1, 2019.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR

Minnesota has the ninth-highest rate of missing and murdered indigenous women in the nation, according to a recent report from the Urban Indian Health Institute.

More than half of native women across the country have experienced sexual violence and, in some places, native women are nearly ten times more likely to be murdered than the rest of the population.

Minnesota is one of several states across the country trying to address this problem through legislation.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in January that would form a task force to examine the causes of violence against native women and report on ways to fight it.

The fate of that legislation pending as the legislative session winds down. The House passed it as part of a larger public safety package, and it received a committee hearing in the state Senate.

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan joined MPR News guest host Tiffany Hanssen Wednesday to discuss the future of that legislation and other efforts being made to curb violence against native women.

Flanagan said she was surprised and pleased when President Trump recently declared a Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day. She hopes that the attention will garner more support for federal and local action.

"We invest in the things that we care about," Flanagan said. "Well, I hope that we all can agree that we care about native women and girls, and making sure that they are safe and loved and protected and valued."

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