Attorney General Josh Kaul recently announced the membership of Wisconsin’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, charged with helping to fight the abduction, homicide, violence and trafficking of Indigenous women in Wisconsin.
Over 30 members have been announced to the task force, including AG Kaul, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Also Frederic Police Chief Tamara Larson and Susan Lowe, Chairwomen for the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.
In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and Wisconsin’s Indigenous communities, the task force plans to focus on examining the factors that contribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) and the response from social service organizations, understanding the roles federal, state and tribal jurisdictions play, and improving and implementing robust data collection and reporting methods.
Larson told the Sentinel in an email, “is a great honor for me to be chosen to be on the task force.”
She added she has been immersed in native culture and has a love for the culture that has grown with her time as a former Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy working with the Round Lake community. She keeps in touch with the community as a part-time officer with the St. Croix Tribal Police Department.
“I have seen the need to help with the violence against native girls and women so when the opportunity was presented, I’m just hoping to help,” Larson said. “I believe a lot of times victims' voices are not heard. I believe it is very important that our state be involved in stopping any human trafficking of young native girls and women.”
“Solving these crimes and supporting the families and bringing justice is what I feel the task force will be important in doing. Over 86% of Native women see some type of violence done in their lifetime to them.
“Solving these crimes and supporting the families and bringing justice is what I feel the task force will be important in doing,” she stated. “Over 86% of Native women see some type of violence done in their lifetime to them.”
Larson added due to COVID-19 no meetings have been set for the task force.
A press release sent out by AG Kaul’s office said, “There will be additional opportunities for public participation through task force workgroups.
Violence against Native women and girls is an under-reported problem throughout the U.S., and cases are often misclassified or there is confusion about jurisdiction. Accurate data protocols are needed to improve data collection and tracking information.”