Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

The Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & People (MMIWP) crisis is the culmination of generations of abuse, violence, harmful policy, and broken promises by government institutions. The intuitional structures and systems within our state and our nation do not adequately reflect the experiences of Indigenous people and therefore do not respond in ways that promote healing, justice and accountability. 

While the work of the Task Force cannot repair past injustices, it furthers an important conversation regarding the responsibility of state, local, and federal governments to protect and uplift Indigenous  people. Families and survivors do not receive the care and support needed to navigate complex systems during times of immense trauma. The Task Force holds this experience at the center of their work, ensuring that impacted community members receive proper support.

In 2021, the Legislature established the MMIWP Task Force, administered by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office (AGO), to understand and address the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous people. The Task Force continues to address issues including data collection, jurisdiction, and training, and create best practices and propose actionable recommendations that call on communities, law enforcement, government at all levels, resource and service providers, and other institutions to improve their response to violence against Indigenous people and to meaningfully address the root causes of the crisis.  (MMIWP Interim Report, 2023, pg. 5)

In the 2023 legislative session, the Legislature extended the Task Force work. Further updates are due to the governor and legislative committees by December 1, 2023. A final report is due by June 1, 2025.


Task Force Approach to the Work

The solutions to this crisis lie in the experiences, recommendations, and suggestions from impacted Indigenous community and family members. Members of the Task Force and AGO staff are committed to centering these voices at every step and grounding the work in Indigenous knowledge, values, and practices.

In addition to regular public meetings, the Task Force utilizes a number of strategies, including family talking circles, public comment sessions, and subcommittee meetings, to ensure that the public, community members, and MMIWP families have a variety of outlets to tell stories, build community, provide expertise, and take an active part in the work. (MMIWP Interim Report, 2023, pg. 5)


Upcoming MMIWP Task Force Meetings

Regular meetings of the Task Force shall be held at least twice per year and hold one summit on relevant issues. Task Force meetings shall include a designated time for public and community comment that provides ample time for community members to participate. Task Force meetings are open to the public and will be advertised at least one (1) week prior to the meeting date. 

Links to view the meetings and more information will be posted closer to the meeting date

For Previous MMIWP Task Force Meetings please click here.


Save the date - 2024 MMIWP Summit

Summit Dates:
Tuesday, September 10th, 2024
Wednesday, September 11th, 2024

The Washington State MMIWP Task Force is hosting its 3rd MMIWP Summit. It will be two full days of MMIWP family members, advocates, community service and resource providers, law enforcement agencies and more sharing their efforts to address the MMIWP crisis within Washington State.

More details to come and will be emailed. If you have any questions please contact MMIWP Policy Analyst, Lucy Smartlowit, lucy.smartlowit@atg.wa.gov or Michelle Johnson, Tribal Policy Analyst at michelle.johnson@atg.wa.gov.


Task Force Subcommittee Meetings

Task Force members concurred on the creation of an Executive Committee and five subcommittees. The five subcommittees are:

1. MMIWP Families

Co-Chairs: Carolyn DeFord & Maureen Rosette

The Families Subcommittee is the heart of the Task Force’s work. Over the past year, the Subcommittee provided valuable feedback on the development of research tools and the MMIWP Missing Persons Toolkit. The Subcommittee received presentations from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and family members who have lost their loved ones.

 

2. Tribes

Co-Chairs: Councilmember Anna Bean, Puyallup Tribe & Vacant

The Tribes Subcommittee continually seeks to expand engagement with tribal leaders, and provides a forum for tribal consultation on the Task Force’s work. In 2023, the Tribes Subcommittee determined that a quarterly meeting schedule works best for tribal leaders. Meetings of this subcommittee are reserved for tribal leaders to honor tribal sovereignty.

 

3. Data and Research

Co-Chairs: Abigail Echo-Hawk and Senator Manka Dhingra

The AGO contracted with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) at the University of Wyoming to provide data and research support to the Task Force. The subcommittee, the WYSAC team and AGO staff meet regularly to make decisions about the research collaboratively and to engage the expertise of Task Force members.

 

4. Criminal Justice and Public Safety

Co-Chairs: Chief Sam White, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Police, and Aubony Burns

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety subcommittee identified three consistent and often overlapping themes through robust discussion in regular meetings: 1) Need for improved communication; 2) Need to strengthen and broaden networks; and 3) Need for additional education.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety subcommittee continues to identify barriers and systemic issues that prevent justice for families and communities, while looking for opportunities for immediate or short term fixes for action for investigators/families while developing long-term recommendations.

To meet these goals, the Criminal Justice and Public Safety subcommittee prioritizes listening to family members who generously share their experiences to recognize issues to investigate in our meetings. The subcommittee regularly invites experts and practitioners across law enforcement and communities to provide presentations and engage in these conversations.

 

5. Community Services and Resources

Co-Chairs: Laura Platero & Vacant

The Community Services and Resources Subcommittee focus on different regions of Washington State to learn about available resources and current needs:

  • Southeast and South Central Washington
  • South Puget Sound
  • Peninsula and Coast
  • North Puget Sound
  • Northwest Washington
  • North Central and Northeast Washington

Each subcommittee and the Executive Committee meet biweekly. The MMIWP Families, Data and Research, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and Community Services and Resources subcommittee meetings are open to the public. As set forth in the bylaws, each member of the Task Force is required to serve on at least one subcommittee.

 

Family Talking Circles

The MMIWP Families Subcommittee hosts Talking Circles to provide a space for survivors, family members, and impacted community members to gather to share their experiences, find support, and build community. The MMIWP Families subcommittee Co-Chairs commit to holding these meetings regularly. Click here to download the Talking Circles flyer.

For more information about Task Force Meetings, Subcommittee Meetings or Family Talking Circles including dates, times and links to join virtually, please view our MMIWP Meeting Calendar

We are committed to raising awareness about missing and murdered indigenous people in Washington State. If you have a relative who is missing or who has been the victim of an unresolved homicide and you would like the Attorney General’s office to share their story on social media, please send flyers and information to mmiwp@atg.wa.gov.

Please note that this inbox is not monitored by law enforcement or any investigative agency.

Per the state's public records act, please be aware that all correspondence submitted to the Attorney General's Office will become public record, and that under state law, public records are subject to public disclosure requests, and may be seen by other people.


MMIWP Cold Case Unit

In 2023, in part in response to recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force, the Washington Legislature created and funded an MMIWP Cold Case Unit within the AGO. The purpose of the team is to review and attempt to solve missing person and cold homicide cases involving persons of indigenous ancestry, whose go missing and are murdered at a higher rate than other demographics. The team investigates these cases with the consent of the local law enforcement agency of jurisdiction. It is the first unit of its kind in the nation.

Cold Case Unit Contact Information

If you would like to contact the MMIWP Cold Case Unit, you may reach out to us at: crjmmiwp@atg.wa.gov or 844-770-7900 (toll-free).

Calls to this number may be made 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Though this number may not be staffed, the voicemail messages are regularly monitored.

We recognize that members of our community may be reluctant to report information. We would appreciate if callers left their name for additional follow up, but tips to this unit can be made anonymously.


Other Tribal Policy Unit Work 

Washington State Truth & Reconciliation Tribal Advisory Committee

It is time for a genuine and robust conversation about equity and reconciliation for Indigenous communities and individuals in the United States.

Truth and Reconciliation is a process that provides space and time to investigate, name, honor and address generations of harm caused by state and federal wrongdoings that benefited and empowered the white dominant culture through unjust means.

The Truth and Reconciliation Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) will conduct research and guide agency staff to ensure this process is done in a good way. The TAC will lead staff in the development of recommendations regarding how our state can address the harms caused by Indian boarding schools and other cultural and linguistic termination practices.

For more information on the committee, subcommittees and meetings, visit our Truth & Reconciliation Tribal Advisory Committee webpage


We are committed to raising awareness about missing and murdered indigenous people in Washington State. If you have a relative who is missing or who has been the victim of an unresolved homicide and you would like the Attorney General’s office to share their story on social media, please send flyers and information to mmiwp@atg.wa.gov.

Please note that this inbox is not monitored by law enforcement or any investigative agency.

Per the state's public records act, please be aware that all correspondence submitted to the Attorney General's Office will become public record, and that under state law, public records are subject to public disclosure requests, and may be seen by other people.

Staff Contacts 

MMIWP

MMIWP Task Force Call for Artists

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office seeking artists to create graphics related to MMIWP Awareness and other topics. These images will be used on various public reports, advertisements, may be displayed at events, and for other Task Force purposes. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.

MMIWP Task Force Call for Artists


Community Resources & Events


MMIWP Interim Reports
2023 Interim Report 
2022 Interim Report


MMIWP Task Force Recommendation List
*coming soon*


MMIWP Resources
*coming soon*


Missing Persons Toolkit
*coming soon*


News Releases


Washington State Patrol Missing Indigenous Person Alert (MIPA) 

To sign up for Missing Indigenous Person Alert please visit:

https://www.wsp.wa.gov/media/subscribe/

  • Email is required
  • Select “Missing Indigenous Person Alert” in the drop down menu

If you are a family member of a missing person and would like their photo to be included on the Washington State Patrol Missing Person’s website, please contact:

Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit

Or the WSP Tribal Liaison:


Task Force Members