Great Falls Tribune: Trump inks law addressing missing, murdered Native Americans

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a bill named for a Fargo murder victim to address cases of missing and murdered Native Americans.

Savanna’s Act, which is named for Savanna Greywind, passed the House last month after passing the Senate earlier this year. The bill was introduced by former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota, last Congress and was reintroduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, in the current Congress.

A makeshift memorial to Savanna Greywind is seen in 2017, in Fargo, N.D., outside the apartment where Greywind lived with her parents.
“This legislation addresses a tragic issue in Indian Country and will help to establish better law enforcement practices,” said North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

The law is meant to help police track, solve and prevent crimes against Native Americans. It directs the Departments of Justice and Interior to consult with American Indian tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines.

The 22-year-old pregnant Greywind was murdered in 2017 and her unborn baby was cut from her body. Her remains were found in the Red River north of Fargo. Two people are in prison for her death. Her infant survived.

“Savanna’s life was lost far too early,” North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer said. “I hope this legislation serves as a remembrance of her story and prevents other tragedies from occurring.”

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines offered comment as well.

“I’m grateful for the president’s leadership fighting to protect Montana’s tribal communities by signing Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act into law,” Daines said in an email. “Sadly, Montana’s tribes are far too familiar with stories such as Savanna’s, and this law is critical to protecting some of our most vulnerable Montanans in our tribal communities.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said recently he has pushed for Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act, which he originally introduced in 2017 and 2019.

These bills will address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis by bolstering data collection and information sharing between tribes and law enforcement agencies and “strengthening violent crime prevention efforts on tribal lands,” he said Oct. 1 in an email.