New database lists missing Native Americans of New Mexico, Navajo Nation

Chaplain Jose L. Villegas Sr. offers an oracion, or prayer, in multiple languages ​​at the start of a press conference to address reporting improvements for missing Indigenous peoples in New Mexico and the Nation Navajo at the New Mexico Attorney General’s office in Albuquerque on Monday. (Liam DeBonis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The FBI on Monday unveiled a new database listing the names of 177 missing Native Americans from New Mexico and across the Navajo Nation, as part of the Missing and Murdered Native Women and Relatives Initiative, Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, said at a press conference.

The fate of these missing persons remains unknown, but the list is publicly available at fbi.gov/mmip. It contains the person’s name, date of birth, date of last contact and a photo if available, updating what had been a patchwork approach to reporting.

Bujanda said people are expected to access the list and if they know where a missing person is will report it, or if a loved one is missing and is not on the list, they can contact local law enforcement and have that name added.

In building the new database, an effort that took more than six months, the FBI used information from the National Crime Information Center’s computer system, along with half a dozen other databases, Bujanda said.

The FBI relied on the work of the MMIWR task force to identify a number of areas that needed to be addressed, not the least of which was the data itself, “which was incomplete or outdated because the file n was not updated once additional details became available or if the person was located,” he said.

The FBI, which currently manages the still-anonymous database, is also working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs, the New -Mexico, New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs. Public Safety, Bernalillo County Attorney’s Office, Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Navajo Nation.

Alexander Uballez, the U.S. District Attorney for New Mexico, said his office is expanding its tribal liaison program. “Previously each pueblo and private nation was served by a single Tribal Liaison, now each of the United States’ designated assistant attorneys is designated as a point of contact,” he said.

New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo, who also chaired the MMIWR task force, acknowledged that the list was not exhaustive. “We want members of our communities and families to report, continue to file information, which will actually help us better understand the depth of the crisis here in New Mexico,” the task force said. at the beginning of his work did not. very well understood, she said.

Also present at the press conference was Justin Hooper, Regional Officer in Charge of the BIA’s Missing and Murdered Unit; Jason Bowie, secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety; New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas; and Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez.

Nohemi M. Moore