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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recalls hearing families testify about searching for loved ones and bringing a red ribbon skirt to a congressional hearing that represented missing and slain Native Americans.
Supporters say the measure is needed to formally acknowledge Alaska tribes’ sovereignty and potentially allow them to access additional resources.
The act calls for the Interior to coordinate prevention efforts, grants and programs related to missing and murdered Indigenous peoples.
The 17 members will have an opportunity to help shape tribal policy by learning the Cherokee Nation Constitution and bylaws.
Native American lawmakers criticized Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday over his decision to scrap a bison management plan that would have allowed the wild animals to be restored in more areas of the state.
Whatever lawmakers decide this session will likely become the foundation of what will be approved later this year.
The council, established in 2013 in response to requests from Indian Country, has not met regularly since 2016.
Around 83,000 remains in the U.S. have been returned to descendants as of this fall, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the National Park Service.
The late Billy Frank Jr – a Nisqually tribal citizen who championed treaty rights and protecting the environment – could be honored with a statue at the U.S. Capitol.