New Washington state law looks to help find missing Native American women

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TOPPENISH, Wash.- It's been 163 years since the Yakama Nation signed the treaty to be recognized as a sovereign nation in 1855.

They come together on June 8th for Treaty Day every year to commemorate the signing.

“To remind ourselves that we are a people. We are one people and we are proud of who we are and who we represent,” Yakama Nation member Sharon Goudy said.

This year, the Treaty Day celebration falls on the same week when a new law is going into effect to help find missing native women in Washington state.

The law requires Washington State Patrol to work with tribes, like the Yakama Nation, to see where they can increase state resources for reporting and identifying these women.

Tucelia Palmer with Yakama Nation Behavioral Health Services said many of those missing may never come home, but it's important to know what happened to them.

“Whether it's good new or bad news, we need to know where they are so we can have that closure, start that healing and stop the inter-generational trauma,” she said.

In 2016, the CDC reported homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native American women between the ages of 10 and 24.

If that's not alarming enough, studies from the Department of Justice said Native American women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than other Americans.

Palmer has advocated for this law to pass throughout the year and said this is a big first step to helping Native American women in the future.

“Maybe we could catch it in time. Maybe it can't be too late next time,” she said.

State patrol will be putting the report together with the help of tribal leaders and the results are due in front of state law maker by June 1, 2019.

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