Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KANW is a member of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serves the Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues across the Mountain West.From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we'll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

Native Public Media petitions FCC to create alert code for missing, endangered adults

Stairs painted red with black lettering reading "No more stolen sisters" to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America.
Adobe Stock
"No more stolen sisters" painted on the Robson Square stairs in Vancouver, Canada, to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America.

A national center for Native radio and TV broadcasters is leading an effort to establish a national alert code for missing and endangered adults.

In 2022, more than 10,000 Indigenous people were reported missing through the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). That’s a higher rate of disappearance than the general population.

That’s why Native Public Media is petitioning the FCC to create the Missing and Endangered Persons event code – similar to what the Amber Alert is for missing children.

“Native Americans face a crisis, we’re three times more likely to experience violent crime,” said Loris Taylor, CEO of Native Public Media and a member of Arizona’s Hopi Nation. “And there's been a wave of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls for a very long time.”

Statistics don’t always give a clear picture of the issue. In 2016, for example, there 5,712 reports of missing Native women and girls, but only 116 cases were logged in the Department of Justice database, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Notably, several states in the Mountain West – including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – have set up task forces to search for missing Indigenous people and properly log cases.

Taylor said a dedicated national alert would help law enforcement and communities locate missing and endangered Native men and women as well as other vulnerable individuals.

On March 14, 2024, the FCC will discuss the proposed alert code. If approved, a public comment period on its proposed rules would follow.

The Mountain West News Bureau distributes some of its stories through Native Public Media.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.