Tracker Pixel for Entry

​One Congressman blocks Savanna’s Act, North Dakotans outraged

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | December 19th, 2018

Jessica Perez and her son Malachi after signing the letter to Congressman Kevin Cramer urging him to help Savanna's Act pass - photograph by C.S. Hagen

FARGO – While a lone Virginian Congressman blocks passage of Savanna’s Act, people across North Dakota are applying pressure to the state’s representative in Washington, D.C. to help push the bill forward.

On Wednesday, dozens of concerned people in Fargo, Minot, Bismarck, and Grand Forks contacted the office of current Congressman Kevin Cramer to demand his verbal support to push the act through the U.S. House of Representatives. The FM Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – Human Trafficking Task Force organized the push to get the word out about the issue.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte is the lone dissenting vote blocking the act, which already passed unanimously through the U.S. Senate.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp first introduced Savanna’s Act in October 2017 naming the bill after Savanna Greywind, a 22-year-old member of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe who was horribly murdered during a fetal abduction.

Petitioners sign letter to Congressman Kevin Cramer urging him to help Savanna's Act pass - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Heitkamp has called Goodlatte petty for playing politics.

“The actions of one Congressman shouldn’t stop us from improving tribal access to law enforcement databases and preventing the cycle of exploitation, abuse, and violence in Indian Country,” Heitkamp said in a press release.

“I’d like to see Congressman Goodlatte actually visit a reservation in North Dakota and explain to the families of victims why he is blocking this bill. Unlike Congressman Goodlatte, I am serious about saving lives and making sure Native American women are invisible no longer – and I’m determined to not let Savanna’s Act go down without a fight.”

Jessice Perez and son Malachi outside of Congressman Kevin Cramer's office - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Approximately 84 percent of Native women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. Actual records of missing and murdered women are difficult to find, but the National Crime Information Center reported 125 cases of Native American women and girls who went missing in North Dakota in 2016.

Savanna’s Act, if passed, will allow the gathering of data on missing and murdered Indigenous women, and men, improve law enforcement databases and create a clearer set of guidelines on how missing persons are reported in Native country.

It was unclear why Godlatte, who is chairman of the House Committee of the Judiciary and is retiring from his position, is blocking Savanna’s Act, or how one dissenting vote could hold up the passage of any bill. One reason may be that the House Committee of the Judiciary is responsible for oversight of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security, and has jurisdiction of matters concerning immigration, terrorism, and crime.

More than a dozen people arrived at Cramer’s office in Fargo to sign a letter urging him to publicly push the bill forward. With two days left before the end of the Congressional session, the matter is urgent, Jessica Perez, from Moorhead, said.

“The Savanna’s Act itself is creating awareness of Indigenous people who go missing and murdered, and will bring more resources to combat this,” Perez, who brought her son, Malachi, to Cramer’s office, said.

“Women’s lives are at stake and we need to fix this now,” Amy Jacobson, who is helping MMIW task force, said. “If it doesn’t pass we go into a new Congressional session and we would have to go through the whole process again. We can’t play games with women’s futures.”

Janel Herald, spokesperson for the Greywind family - talks about imprtance of Savanna's Act - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Janel Herald, spokesperson for the Greywind family, also signed her name to the letter.

“Savanna’s Act is not only important to Native Americans, but it should be to Cramer as well,” Herald said. “There is a lot more that needs to be done, but this is a good first step. It is pivotal for Cramer to put his name onto this.” 

Cramer's office was asked for a statement, but did not reply. 

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…