April 25, 2023
In October 2020, the Not Invisible Act (NIA) was passed into law. The NIA outlines the formation of a Joint Commission on Reducing Violent Crime Against Indians. During the U.S. Department of Interior’s May 5th awareness event for the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Day, Secretary Deb Haaland announced the formation of the Commission, as well as the appointed representatives to serve on it.
The Not Invisible Act, sponsored by Secretary Deb Haaland when she served in Congress, mandates the creation of the Commission that includes representatives of Tribal, state, and local law enforcement; Tribal judges; healthcare and mental health practitioners with experience working with Indian survivors of trafficking and sexual assault; urban Indian organizations focused on violence against women and children; Indian survivors of human trafficking; and family members of missing and murdered Indian people. This bill aims to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native people by engaging law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers, and improving coordination across federal agencies. This bipartisan bill establishes an advisory committee of local, tribal, and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice on best practices to combat the epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime, and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Christina’s position at ANDVSA focuses on intersectionality, with a primary focus on trauma, substance use, and mental health. Christina is a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking. Both her lived experiences and professional expertise inform her impact on systems change.
Christina is honored and humbled to be appointed to this Commission. She believes that people with lived experiences must be at the center and front of everything we do. People who are directly impacted know the challenges and solutions better than anyone but have historically not been allowed to have a chair at the table of resources and power to make meaningful changes. She will continue to use her voice and lift up the voices and experiences of her fellow survivors who do not have access to basic human rights, resources, or safety. She acknowledges the privilege of her recovery from substance use and plans to use her power and privilege to make important paradigm shifts. Our people and communities have the solutions but have lacked the funding, jurisdiction, and support to bring safety and healing to everyone. We often leave people from our own communities behind. We watch them struggle and fade into the cracks of our systems. Her goal is to fill these cracks and empower our communities to lift up our relatives who are hurting the most.
The Commission will hold hearings in Anchorage this week, where attendees are invited to give their testimony and recommendations for the federal government to combat violent crime against Indians and within Indian lands. This will be an important place for Alaska Tribes, Natives, and other interested persons to attend and provide information.
The Commission is an important moment in history for Indigenous people. With this Commission and the strong Alaska Native voices appointed to it, we have a real opportunity to create significant change for our Alaska Native communities. Christina is excited to see this Commission make meaningful and lasting changes.