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Official: Consistent Data Elusive In Tracking Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

Brian Bull

The nation’s first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) report issued by a U.S. Attorney’s Office came out last week.  But comprehensive data -including that for Oregon - is still an issue.

By State Justice Department standards, there are eleven missing and eight murdered Indigenous people connected to Oregon.  But multiple sources of such data use different definitions, which can create information gaps.

As part of a federal effort to streamline data and develop bonds with tribal communities, the District of Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office will collaborate with the state’s nine recognized tribes this year.

Credit Provided by Cedar Wilkie Gillette.
Cedar Wilkie Gillette, who's MMIP Coordinator for the District of Oregon.

Cedar Wilkie Gillette is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator for the District.  She says it’s a milestone that her office released the report, but it’s also a call for help in making it more thorough.

“This is what our data looks like, we know it’s not all of the data, we know it’s an incomplete picture. And we need help in updating the data and knowing about the cases, and assisting and working on them.”

Gillette adds the COVID-19 pandemic has curbed her plans to personally visit all tribes in Oregon, but they’ll carry on virtually for now.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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