Bring Missing Indigenous Persons Home

Target: James C. Ramos, Chair of California General Assembly Select Committee on Native American Affairs

Goal: Improve system designed to locate and return missing indigenous people safely.

Although indigenous people comprise two percent of the nation’s population, they go missing at a rate ten times the average of any other group. And murder too often plays a role, as recently documented in the critically acclaimed motion picture Killers of the Flower Moon. Homicide is ranked as the number one cause of death for young indigenous females. California took on the issue by launching a first-of-its-kind Feather Alert system designed to help locate missing indigenous individuals. At the one-year anniversary of this landmark system, however, indigenous communities are calling for needed reforms.

The top cited problem is the frequent failure of the alerts to even be deployed or acknowledged. Of five attempts to use the system in the past year, three requests were denied. In at least one of the denied requests, the person believed missing was reportedly later found dead. The rejections result from a rule that mandates local law enforcement act as a go-between for communities and the state’s highway patrol. In order for the alert to be conveyed to the California state police, a set of specific criteria must be met–criteria that is at the discretion of local departments.

Advocates believe that eliminating this requirement and allowing missing persons requests to go directly to the highway patrol could save valuable time and save lives in the process. Sign the petition below to demand leaders heed the concerns of the communities impacted most.


Dear Chair Ramos,

When the Feather Alert system was created, it was hailed as a major tool for curbing the epidemic of violence perpetrated against indigenous populations…violence too often dismissed and ignored. The law required meetings and gatherings where failures and deficiencies in the system could be brought to attention and addressed. And the Select Committee recently received a plethora of concerns from indigenous leaders and communities.

These individuals are in the best position to advise on areas of improvement. Please listen to them. Act on recommendations such as allowing potential missing persons cases to go directly to the California Highway Patrol and strengthening trust between these communities and law enforcement. This system can change and save lives, but it needs to reach its full potential.

Realize this potential and set a standard that will help safeguard and protect a historically oppressed population nationwide.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Los Muertos Crew

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