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Data & Research

"Lady Justice" used with permission from DG Smalling, Choctaw Nation (see reuse policy).

Data & Research

Reviewing, gathering and obtaining data is essential to determining the root causes of issues surrounding American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) who have gone missing, as well as those who have been murdered, so that issues can be understood and addressed. Among the challenges to having good data are an adult’s right to go missing, Tribal sovereignty, sometimes limited understanding about Tribal membership and racial demographics and disparate data collection systems. At the federal level, the U.S. government collects public safety and public health data across all populations, which includes data on AI/AN who have gone missing or have been murdered. States and tribes also collect and analyze data, including state and Tribal task forces.


Among the significant considerations in data collection on this issue is the importance of understanding more about human trafficking and its potential relationship in missing or murdered Indigenous people. Another consideration is understanding more about the extractive industries (oil, natural gas, pipelines, mining) and the potential relationship to missing or murdered Indigenous people. While the OLJ Task Force was unable to undertake research related to these topics during its tenure, it has recommended this research be undertaken in future endeavors. Below is a list of publications and practical resources to assist in better understanding these topics.

Human Trafficking

Extractive Industries

  • Dept. of State, The Link Between Extractive Industries and Sex Trafficking. This fact sheet is a brief global overview of how extractive industries can increase the risk for sex trafficking.  


Public Safety Data and Reports

Public Health Data and Reports

Data Sharing for Tribes and Those Partnering With Tribes

  • NativeDATA: This project by Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center’s IDEA-NW, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides guidance for Tribes when considering sharing health data and for public health authorities when requesting data, as well as data sovereignty issues for Tribes. The project has advice on requesting health data, building strong data sharing partnerships, developing protective data agreements and communicating effectively about data sharing. For more information, visit NativeDATA.npaihb.org or email the NativeDATA team at [email protected]


Operation Lady Justice (OLJ) coordinated closely with the Tribes and states already working on the issues surrounding missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives via established task forces or other efforts with similar goals and objectives. Through sharing information on all ongoing efforts, individual Tribes, states and federal partners can learn from each other, develop common understandings, and strategize on activities and recommendations to address missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. OLJ continues to collect information from Tribes and states here to inform the public about these efforts throughout Tribal nations and the country. 


  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
    Workgroup: https://csktribes.org
  • Navajo Nation, Missing and Murdered Diné Relatives: https://www.navajommdr.com
  • Yakama Nation, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Committee:  http://www.yakamanationnsn.gov/council.php
  • Yurok Tribe, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: https://www.yuroktribe.org/


In addition to task forces in a few states to focus on missing Indigenous people, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada has a missing persons clearinghouse. These clearinghouses receive data on missing persons from law enforcement agencies; data elements and variables include personal characteristics, photographs and missing case circumstances. Information about what each state’s clearinghouse collects is on the individual state pages below. Additionally, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children maintains a list of the missing persons clearinghouse websites


Date Created: February 17, 2021