Savanna’s Act approved in U.S. Senate

Tanna Schloesser, Reporter

On the morning of Friday, Dec. 7th, the U.S. unanimously voted to pass Savanna’s Act. The legislation aims to gather data on murdered and missing Native American women all over the country. The act was introduced by democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp in 2017.

This piece of legislation would improve the collection of data on tribal victims. Also, it would help improve access tribal people have to federal crime databases and create more in-depth guidelines for when someone goes missing. It would also require Congress to look at annual statistics on missing and murdered Native American women and recommendations on how to improve the situations.

The forum reported that in 2016, 125 Native American women and girls had been reported missing by the National Crime Information Center. The number is likely higher though due to a lack of reporting and responses.

The bill is named after 22 year old Fargo native, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. In August of 2017, Greywind was 8 months pregnant when she was abducted and murdered in what prosecutors call a plot to steal her baby. Her baby was found five days after the murder, alive and healthy. Three days after the baby was discovered, Greywind’s body was discovered in the Red River, wrapped in plastic and tape.

Greywind’s apartment neighbor, Brooke Crews and a man named William Hoehn were charged. Crews has since pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve life without parole. Hoehn also pleaded guilty to two charges of kidnapping and providing false information.