Congressional Resolution to Designate May 5th as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls

On July 1st, 2016, Senator Steve Daines met with Malinda Harris Limberhand, mother of Hanna Harris, to present a resolution to commemorate Hanna’s life.

The Montana Congressional delegation released a press release stating the resolution to create a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls which “seeks to commemorate the lives of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women whose cases are documented and undocumented in public records and in the media.”

U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D- MT) and U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) introduced a resolution to designate May 5, 2017, as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The resolution is supported by a number of other Senators and Representatives.

The resolution was drafted in memory of the birthday of Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who was murdered in July 2013. It was introduced on the same day that RoyLynn Rideshorse, a member of the Crow Tribe who was beaten and burned in April and left to die in a field, passed away.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice study, in some tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide was the third leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women between 10 and 24 years of age and the fifth leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women between 25 and 34 years of age.
“I am heartbroken by the recent of murder of RoyLynn Rides Horse. Tragically it’s a symptom of the greater epidemic of tribal women who go missing and are murdered at staggering rates,” said Daines, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “We are ringing the alarm to this devastating epidemic.”

“It is critical that we shed more light on the hardships that Native women and their families often face,” said Jon Tester, Vice Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “But words must be followed up with actions, and I am committed to working with the Montana Congressional delegation and Montana tribes to increase the safety of Native women and ensure they have every opportunity to thrive.”

U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. “The attack and murder of RoyLynn Rides Horse shook my soul as a husband, father, Montanan, and as someone whose job has been to keep people safe,” said Rep. Ryan Zinke. “I offer my deepest condolences to her family and community. My office is working diligently with Crow tribal law enforcement to support the community, but we must do more to raise awareness of the epidemic of murdered and missing women and children in Native communities. I am saddened by the circumstances for this Congressional resolution, but I am proud to help honor RoyLynn, Hanna Harris, and countless others who have tragically lost their lives. Raising awareness will help save lives and prevent another heartbreaking outcome.”


“The National Congress of American Indians supports the Montana delegation’s efforts to bring attention to those Native women and girls who have been murdered or are missing throughout Indian country. We are hopeful that this awareness day will start a much-needed dialogue on what we can all do collectively to ensure our Native women and girls are afforded the safety that they deserve.”

-National Congress of American Indians