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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland testifying before Congress in February 2021. Photo: Leigh Vogel/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Interior on Thursday announced the creation of a new unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs tasked with supporting investigations into missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Why it matters: Approximately 1,500 American Indian and Alaska Native missing persons cases have been reported to the National Crime Information Center, and about 2,700 cases of murder and nonnegligent homicide offenses have been reported to the federal government, according to the Interior Department.

Last year, then-President Trump signed a bill aimed at addressing missing and murdered Native Americans.

  • A task force was created in 2019 "to address the legitimate concerns of American Indian and Alaska Native communities regarding missing and murdered people."

What they're saying: “Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

  • "Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated," she added.
  • “The new [Missing & Murdered Unit] will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe, and provide closure for families.”

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
26 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
46 mins ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

A critical race theory founder says he's being inundated with threats

Richard Delgado. Photo: Courtesy of Richard Delgado

Richard Delgado, one of the founders of the critical race theory movement, tells Axios he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages since the coordinated, conservative campaign against critical race theory began.

Why it matters: Educators across the country — even some elementary school teachers — have faced harassment and threats over the past year over lesson plans that teach about system racism in the U.S.