Private grant funds SD AG’s missing Indigenous coordinator
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — An office in the South Dakota attorney general’s office to coordinate investigations into the disappearance and murder of Indigenous people will be started through a private donation from an organization connected to St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Native American lawmakers who have been pushing for the funding in the state budget said Wednesday they hoped the three-year grant of $85,000 a year from Native Hope will lead to Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hiring someone soon. The office, which is designed to coordinate law enforcement investigations across tribal, state and federal agencies, was created last year, but without funding to hire anyone.
“We want to impact this critical issue in our state,” said Jennifer Long, the director of Native Hope. “No more missing sisters; no more missing Indigenous people.”
The announcement comes after two women were found dead on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation last week.
“In Pine Ridge, the Oglala Sioux Tribe public safety is underfunded,” said Democratic Rep. Peri Pourier. “This is an outstanding opportunity to bridge those gaps of all people coming together and saying what can we do?”
Gov. Kristi Noem is also pushing for ongoing funds for the position.