Savanna’s Act signed into law, aims to protect Native American women

Traditional Native American regalia

WASHINGTON, D.C. — ‘Savanna’s Act,’ legislation aimed at helping authorities better respond to cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, was signed into law Saturday.

The act saw bipartisan support and was officially signed into law by President Trump.

The office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray, who has been a proponent of the act since 2018, says this will increase law enforcement coordination, including data collection, information sharing and expanded resources for Tribal police.

“Savanna’s Act is law, and much-needed help for Indigenous women and girls is on the way. New law enforcement tools, coordination, and data will help make sure our Native women and girls get the protection and justice they deserve,” said Murray. “Thank you to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for keeping up this fight with me, and thank you to the Seattle Indian Health Board for making sure this issue got the attention it needed.”

The Senator’s Office says that 50-percent of all Native American women in the U.S. have been sexually abused, raped, beaten or stalked by someone, and one-third will be raped in their lifetime.

Additionally, a report from the Seattle Indian Health Board showed that Washington state had the second-highest number of cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the country.

In 2019, Washington State Patrol requested more resources for Tribal police investigating these cases—reporting 56 cases of missing Indigenous women, including 20 in Yakima and 12 in King County.

Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year-old woman from the Spirit Lake Tribe who went missing on August 19, 2017 while she was eight months pregnant. Her body was found a week later in a river, and police determined her death was caused by “homicidal violence.”