The Commission’s report includes over 300 recommendations that aim to address the systemic issues that have allowed the crisis to persist for so long. Many of the Commission’s recommendations echo those made by the Indian Law and Order Commission in 2013, which were endorsed by the American Bar Association (ABA) Resolution. The recommendations also encompass a set of recommendations endorsed by the ABA in a resolution adopted at the 2020 Midyear Meeting calling for action to address MMIP.
Over the course of their work, the Commission held seven in-person public hearings and one virtual hearing, where they received testimony from over 260 witnesses. These hearings allowed experts, survivors, and family members to share their experiences and recommendations and reflected the depth of the trauma experienced by Tribal communities. Several common themes emerged from these hearings, including the need for reliable and consistent funding, accountability for law enforcement, data coordination, improved communication with affected families, victim and family support, equitable media coverage, and targeted interventions to address vulnerabilities and leverage strengths and resilience within American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.
In its 200-page report, the Commission makes a host of recommendations to address the issues identified through its hearings. The Commission highlights, in particular, the need for the federal government to address the extreme, persistent underfunding of Tribal justice systems and to overhaul the federal funding process for public safety and justice in Tribal communities. The Commission calls for the federal government to conduct consultation on these issues over the next 12 months and to develop a concrete proposal for reform.
Like the Indian Law and Order Commission before it, the Not Invisible Act Commission highlighted the restrictions federal law places on Tribal criminal jurisdiction as a significant contributing factor to the public safety crisis experienced in many Tribal communities. The Commission recognizes the progress made through the Violence Against Women Act Tribal jurisdiction provisions and recommends a full restoration of Tribal jurisdiction on Tribal lands. The Commission also recommends the creation of a mechanism for tribes that are subject to state jurisdiction under PL 280 (a law that allows states to prosecute crime committed by Indians on Indian lands in certain places) to initiate retrocession of that jurisdiction and legislation that would address the negative impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. The Commission’s recommendations also address the need for Tribal justice systems to be treated equitably to state and local justice systems with regard to recognition of warrants, access to electronic records, and criminal information sharing.