Kansas Rep. Victors Introduces Bill Addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous People

Kansas House Representative Ponka-We Victors (center) engages a group of Native American women regarding the need for legislation to address missing and murdered Indigenous peoples in Kansas.

By: Michelle Simon

Kansas House Representative Ponka-We Victors introduced legislation today as a first step for the state of Kansas to address the national epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) and men.

The Kansas legislature does not currently have any policy addressing human trafficking of Indigenous people in Kansas. If passed, this bill will authorize the Kansas Attorney General, in conjunction with other appropriate state agencies, to provide training on human trafficking and missing and murdered Indigenous people for various law enforcement bureaus across the state of Kansas.

“It’s devastating that Native Americans are still fighting for basic human rights. This bill will be a positive first step toward bringing awareness to this issue, and acknowledging that these Indigenous people are missing,” relayed Victors in a prepared statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. The state of Kansas is home to four Native American tribes, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas, Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Additionally, there is a substantial presence of Indigenous peoples in Topeka, Wichita and Lawrence, Kansas.

A small delegation from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation joined Victors as she announced the new legislation to address MMIW and men in Kansas. From left: PBPN Tribal Council Member Raphael Wahwassuck, PBPN member Pannoquah Wahwassuck, PBPN member Ma’Ko’Quah Abigail Jones, Rep. Ponka-We Victors, PBPN member and former PBPN Tribal Chairwoman Liana Onnen, and PBPN Native Vote Committee Members Michelle Simon and Verna Simon.