May 23, 2024

Schatz, Murkowski Lead Oversight Hearing on Public Safety in Native Communities

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2024


Mike Inacay (Schatz) at

Hannah Ray (Murkowski) at

Schatz, Murkowski Lead Oversight Hearing on Public Safety in Native Communities

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, led an oversight hearing titled, “Examining Public Safety & Justice Resources in Native Communities.”

“One of our fundamental trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations is protecting the public safety on their lands…This oversight hearing has been purposefully informed by priorities that Tribal leaders and Native stakeholders uplifted in our listening session and legislative hearing,” said Chairman Schatz. “The United States must do everything it can to live up to the trust and treaty responsibility to protect the public safety of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”

“I am grateful that the safety of Native families, children, and communities is one of the issues that attracts bipartisan support. I am honored to have worked with Native leaders in Alaska and across the nation over multiple Congresses on these issues of public safety. This Committee has been a great forum for both shedding light on the need to improve public safety and justice in Native communities and taking concrete steps to address the problem. We saw that through passage of VAWA 2022 which included the Tribal Title we authored,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “My thanks to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Alaska Native Justice Center, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and so many other powerful advocates who have partnered with us on solutions. Through listening to tribal leaders and advocates, we have learned how a lack of resources combined with jurisdictional complexities have contributed to a crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people and a disproportionately high rate of victimization.”

The following witnesses participated in the oversight hearing:

  • The Honorable Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
  • The Honorable Patrice Kunesh, Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Allison Randall, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC

The full video of yesterday’s oversight hearing is available here.

The full video of the March 20 listening session is available here and the May 1 legislative hearing is available here.  

The Committee will continue to accept written testimony until June 5, 2024. Testimony may be submitted to