Oregon joins response in US to crimes against Indian women

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Native American women have gone missing on reservations or been killed at an alarming rate, but officials say statistics are hard to come by amid confusion by law enforcement over who has jurisdiction, which also results in lax pursuit of cases.

Oregon, home to nine federally recognized tribes or confederations, has now joined a growing movement in the United States to account for — and hopefully solve — more of these horrific crimes.

Patricia Whitefoot, whose sister disappeared in 1987 in an unsolved missing-person’s case, watched as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill Thursday that directs the state police to study how to increase and improve criminal justice resources to solve these cases.

South Dakota and Washington are among states that recently passed similar laws. And bills before Congress call for the Justice Department to review how law enforcement is responding.