News Release

The Administration for Native Americans

The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) today announced the opportunity to virtually submit names to be written on the Administration for Native Americans’ Missing and Murdered Native Americans (MMNA) Memorial Shawl. Since the shawl’s creation, there has been more than 150 names placed on the shawl to represent those who have gone missing or who have been murdered.

Within the Native American community, shawls traditionally represent protection and are most often worn by Native American women and girls during traditional ceremonies. While the more than 574 Native communities are diverse, the color red is often identified as the only color seen by those that have transitioned into the spirit world, which is the reason so many communities use red in their mission to raise awareness and honor those who have passed on. This red shawl serves as a memorial for remembrance, healing, and protection for those who have had a member of their family or community go missing or be murdered. 

This November, the shawl was blessed by Chief Stephen Adkins of the Chickahominy Tribe during a private ceremony on tribal lands along the James River located in Providence Forge, Virginia. Tribal leaders on the Administration for Children and Families Tribal Advisory Committee also offered prayers virtually over the shawl in remembrance of Native American individuals and their families that have been affected by this crisis. Highlights of the event can be viewed in the Missing and Murdered Native Americans Memorial Shawl video below.

“Administration for Native Americans’ Missing and Murdered Native Americans Memorial Shawl helps to further demonstrate our commitment to continue to bring attention to this national crisis, and honor those who are affected and still seeking answers, justice, and closure,” said Commissioner Jeannie Hovland. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be able to have you come into the office to write the name(s) of your loved one(s) on the shawl. However, we are pleased to provide you the opportunity to email the name(s) of your missing and or murdered loved one(s) by email. Once we receive your submission, we will be honored to write the name(s) on the shawl for you in the most respectful way possible.”

In November, the Administration for Children and Families Missing and Murdered Native Americans: A Public Health Call to Action Framework, was made available to the public. This framework focuses on improving the well-being of Native populations and intends to help prevent Missing and Murdered Native Americans, intervene for those in crisis, and support individuals, families and communities in need of healing. The framework can be accessed by visiting: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ana/mmna-framework.

For those who want to submit a name to be added to the Administration for Native Americans’ Missing and Murdered Native Americans Shawl, please email: anacommissioner@acf.hhs.gov. 

The shawl will be permanently displayed in the offices of the Administration for Native Americans located in the Mary E. Switzer Building at 330 C Street S.W. in Washington D.C.

The Administration for Native Americans at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, ANA