Includes one missing, three murdered Warm Springs tribal members
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) —The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon released its first annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons program report on Friday, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced.
The report is the first of its kind produced by a U.S. Attorney’s Office since the Justice Department launched a new national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans in November 2019.
“For generations, American Indians and Alaskan Natives have suffered from disproportionately high levels of violence. Tragically, this is not a crisis of the past; it’s a crisis of the present,” Williams said. “In this report, we look back and forward, summarizing what is known about missing and murdered Indigenous people in Oregon and outlining our plans and goals for the year ahead.
"While we won’t solve this problem overnight, our office is working closely with Oregon law enforcement partners, other U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and the U.S. Department of Justice to end endemic violence in Indian Country.”
The District of Oregon report provides tribal communities, law enforcement and the public with an overview of current MMIP cases connected to Oregon and the U.S. Attorney Office MMIP strategy for 2021.
As outlined in the report, an initial analysis of available MMIP data conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicates there are 11 missing and eight murdered Indigenous persons connected to Oregon, six females and five males.
Six of the 11 missing persons are members from an Oregon tribe, including two from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
The U.S. Attorney's Office also identified eight murdered Indigenous persons, three males and five females. Of those, seven are members of an Oregon tribe, including two from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Warm Springs tribal member Lisa Pearl Briseno last was seen on Aug. 20, 1997 in Portland. The report had listed Tina Spino as a missing person but was updated when her remains were found and identified. The two listed as murdered are Gunner Bailey, in March 2019, and Johnathan Thomas Gilbert, last Sept. 5.
This year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will conduct formal tribal consultations with Oregon’s nine tribal governments to discuss MMIP issues, develop MMIP community response plans, create a District of Oregon MMIP Working Group, further develop data surrounding Oregon MMIP cases, and increase collaboration among all involved entities who interact with MMIP cases.
MMIP is an important and sensitive issue to tribal communities, the office said. Addressing MMIP in Indian Country is particularly challenging due to jurisdictional issues, lack of coordination and inadequate resources. However, for the first time in U.S. history, a national federal strategy—formalized by legislation, executive order, and departmental directive—is in place to address MMIP issues.
If you or someone you know have information about missing or murdered Indigenous people in Oregon, please contact the FBI Portland Field Office by calling (503) 224-4181 or by visiting tips.fbi.gov. If you have questions about the U.S. Attorney’s Office MMIP program, please contact MMIP program coordinator Cedar Wilkie Gillette by emailing Cedar.Wilkie.Gillette@usdoj.gov or by calling (503) 727-1000.