Tribal Amber Alert Expansion Bill Moves Forward in Senate

Jun 14, 2017

Federal legislation that would expand Amber Alerts on tribal lands has passed its final hurdle before it receives a vote in the full U.S. Senate. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation

The bill would make permanent a U.S. Department of Justice pilot program that offers Amber Alert training to tribes. Many Native nations don’t have child abduction warning systems, and the measure would allow them to manage and operate their own.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee this week endorsed the legislation, which was sponsored by Republican John McCain and has bipartisan support.

It comes after last year’s abduction and murder of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike near Shiprock, N.M., on the Navajo Nation. The tribe didn’t have its own system in place at the time and hours went by before an alert was issued.

According to Sen. McCain, FBI data show there are nearly 8,000 missing Native American Children in the U.S.