President re-signs Missing and Murdered American Indian and Alaska Natives proclamation

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


On Tuesday, May 5, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis represented the Gila River Indian Community at a “Native American Roundtable” hosted by President Donald J. Trump, who traveled to Arizona to visit a Honeywell facility. Vice-Chairman Myron Lizer of the Navajo Nation, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, and Senator Martha McSally were also in attendance at the roundtable.


During the roundtable, Trump re-signed a proclamation declaring May 5 as “Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day, 2020.” The proclamation brings awareness to the crisis, highlights federal funding and programs, and creation of Operation Lady Justice, a multi-agency taskforce created to coordinate the federal response on missing and murdered Native Americans and Alaska Natives. 


Last year, the Gila River Indian Community hosted the first Department of Interior listening session on safe communities which led to the creation of the Operation Lady Justice Taskforce.


Also during the roundtable, Trump discussed COVID-19 related issues such as testing, PPE, and supplies. The Navajo Nation has been hit harder than others with the COVID-19 pandemic and has been considered one of the worst hotspots in the country for the coronavirus.


The president announced that the federal government would assist the Gila River Indian Community with $40 million from the Tribal Relief Fund and $600 million for Navajo Nation but the funds have yet to be released to the tribes and have added restricted use. The Tribal Relief Fund was included in the CARES Act to help tribes with expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.