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California Tribal Business Alliance advocates for missing and murdered Indigenous people

SACRAMENTO – The California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) joined other tribal leaders at the California State Assembly to support the first annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Week from May 1 to May 5.

“The Members of the California Tribal Business Alliance are proud to have partnered with Assemblymember James Ramos, the California Commission on the Status of Women, and other California Tribes to co-sponsor the Inaugural Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Week in the State’s Capitol, May 1 – 5, 2023,” said Robert Smith, Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and Chairman of the CTBA.

The Dome of the State Capitol was lit red in remembrance of the Native victims and families whose lives have been shattered by violence, to raise awareness about the epidemic of MMIP, and to promote a sense of urgency to policymakers to deliver solutions to stop this crisis. For generations, Indigenous persons have struggled with high rates of assault, abduction, and murder of women. Indigenous women go missing and are murdered at rates higher than any other ethnic group in the United States.

MMIP Week included an Informational Hearing on May 2 by the Assembly Select Committee on Native American Affairs: Not Invisible: California’s Work to Combat the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. CTBA held advocacy meetings with State Legislators, Administration Officials, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The week’s events culminated with a Candlelight Vigil on May 3 on the West Steps of the State Capitol conceptualized by Yurok Tribe attended by over 500 people.

“The biggest takeaway from our meetings is that MMIP is perhaps the most significant issue before the State Legislature,” said Janet Bill, Chairperson of Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and Sara Dutschke, Chairwoman of Ione Band of Miwok Indians. “CTBA urges support for AB 44 (Ramos) to give parity to Tribal law enforcement to have access to critical state and local law enforcement data, AB 273 (Ramos) to intensify actions and reporting requirements when foster youth go missing, and AB 1574 (Waldron) to create a Red Ribbon Panel to establish the state of California’s long-term plan to address the MMIP crisis; and equally important, to provide the resources to support the implementation of ABs 44, 273, and 1574.”

The California Tribal Business Alliance was formed in 2004 to address an array of public policy matters of importance to the diverse interests of its Members, including, healthcare, education, water, energy, housing, agriculture, environmental, and business issues.

The members are federally recognized California Indian tribes that have entered into Tribal-State Gaming Compacts with the State of California and are interested in developing mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded government, business, and community leaders. The five Members of the Alliance are Pala Band of Mission Indians (founding Member), Ione Band of Miwok Indians, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Wilton Rancheria, and Yurok Tribe.

Submitted by the Pala Band of Mission Indians.


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