编者注: 在本周的问题中, 人们以六名土著妇女失踪案件为特色, 聚焦倡导者认为执法部门和媒体关注度太低的危机.
的 89,637 联邦调查局国家犯罪信息中心数据库中的活跃失踪人员案件, 大约 1,500 是美洲印第安人和阿拉斯加原住民. 但根据主权机构研究所的追踪，这个数字可能要高得多, 一个非营利研究小组.
Ida Beard was a helper.
The mother of four loved to volunteer at Sunday school. If anyone needed a hand preparing the fellowship dinner, she always offered her services.
“She wanted to pitch in and do things,” her cousin LaRenda Morgan tells PEOPLE.
Beard, who loved ones described as always having a smile on her face, loved wearing her hair in French braids and had a habit of rolling her pant legs up. She never ventured too far from her El Reno, Okla., 家, where she lived with her mother, who is blind.
“She’s just [所以] attached to her mother and children,” says Morgan.
So it was a shock when the member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe disappeared on June 30, 2015. On the evening she vanished, she told her mother that she was going to visit friends down the street.
“All we know is she was seen leaving, reportedly walking home, and then she never made it there,” El Reno Police Department Major Kirk Dickerson tells PEOPLE.
What happened to Beard remains a mystery.
“More likely than not, somebody somewhere knows something,” says Dickerson. “Until those people come forward and share that information with us, it’s going to continue to be very difficult to find Ida.”
For more information about Ida Beard and other missing Indigenous women cases, 现在订阅人 或拿起本周的问题, 周五在报摊上.
同时, Morgan began pushing for legislation in Oklahoma that would shine a light on missing and murdered Indigenous people.
今年早些时候, Senate bill 172, also known as Ida’s Law, was signed into law. The bill creates an Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons within the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which will coordinate with state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies to address unsolved cases.
“One of the obstacles solving these cases is the uncertainty about jurisdiction between states, federal and tribal law enforcement,” says Sen. Paul Rosino, who authored the bill. “This misunderstanding over who’s responsible for an investigation can cause so many of these people to fall through the cracks. These families want to know what’s happened to their family members, and we should be doing all we can to try to find them.”
The office will also create a database to track cases and provide guidance to victims’ 家庭. “There is some mistrust,” says Rosino. “What we want to do is say, ‘不, listen. We want to help you. We are trying to find your family member.'”
When the bill was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Morgan immediately called Beard’s mother.
“I told her, ‘I wanted you to know that Ida’s life mattered,'” 她说. “Because my aunt felt like nobody cared that Ida was missing.”
The bill, now known as “Ida’s Law,” went into effect on Nov. 1.
“Me and my cousins, after it was all over, we all cried,” says Morgan. “我们就像, 天哪, Ida would be like, '什么? 我? I have a law named after me?'”
Anyone with information on Beard’s disappearance is encouraged to call the El Reno Police Department at 405-295-9399.