U.S. Senate Passes Tribal AMBER Alert Bill

Dec 1, 2017

The U.S. Senate Wednesday unanimously approved a flurry of bills affecting Indian Country. Among them was legislation to expand AMBER alert programs on tribal lands. KNAU’s Justin Regan reports.

A makeshift memorial to Ashlynne Mike. Her 2016 murder prompted calls to expand the AMBER alert system on tribal lands.
Credit Jon Austria / Farmington Daily Times

Senator John McCain introduced the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act following the 2016 abduction and murder of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike. The Navajo Nation, like many tribes, didn’t have an emergency notification system and several hours passed before an alert went out.

The bill authorizes grants to develop AMBER alerts and assists tribes with integration into other regional emergency systems.

A companion bill has been introduced in the House by Arizona Republican Andy Biggs.

The Senate on Wednesday also passed bills expanding programs to create tribal jobs and preserve Native languages, and repealed another that allows the government to forcibly send Native youth to boarding schools.