Signed into law: Arizona bill to study the data about missing and murdered Indigenous women

Patty Talahongva

Arizona study committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women begins its work on August 27th

One more state weighed in on the complex problem of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls this week. The issue is particularly complicated because there is no good collection of data. So the state of Arizona is setting out to study the issue first and then come up with a plan.

"We are one of seven states here in Arizona that now is addressing this issue, doing studies to gather the data," said Sen. Victoria Steele, Seneca/Mingo. "The hardest part for me is I want to get in there right now and fix this problem because while we're looking at the data that we know is out there, more women, more girls are going missing, more people are being murdered, more families are being destroyed. And, and it tears at my heart. But if we don't have the data, then we have nothing to base this work on."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the study commission bill into law Tuesday "... to the families of the victims here today and throughout the state. I want you to know that Arizona feels your pain and we stand with you in your effort to achieve justice and to bring this crisis to an end." Ducey is a Republican. The legislation was agreed to unanimously in the Senate, with two members not voting.

The House legislation was sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Jermaine, White Earth Ojibwe, who said the committee will formally begin its meetings Aug. 27. 

"We don't know exactly how big (the problem) is in Arizona. That data doesn't seem to exist anywhere. And one of the things that we will be tasked with is combing through news outlet archives, combing through family stories, combing through the different agency databases to see if we can piece together some of this data," she said.  "so that we can get a better, better picture of what's happening here in Arizona so that we can start to tackle this problem at its root cause."

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Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is the executive producer for Indian Country Today based in Phoenix. Email: or on Twitter: @witespider.

Cover photo: Sen. Victoria Steele holding the ceremonial pen signing the study commission bill into law. (Photo by Patty Talahongva)

Comments (4)
No. 1-2

I'm all for it, but don't waste money. Here. I'll save us millions of dollars in 38 words: The vast majority are runaways, drug addicts and prostitutes. That happens because of domestic violence, alcohol and drugs, and poverty. At the core is hopelessness, lack of opportunity -- the chance to actually own a piece of the future.


Yes, completely agree with a previous comment. This sounds like a waste of time and money. I think that the government should better spend money on the best assignment writing service like rather than on this investigation or whatever they call it. It would be much better if kids would write an assignment in a good looking school. That is obvious.