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Hope for murdered or missing Native Americans in Oklahoma

Posted at 10:11 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 12:30:17-05

TULSA, Okla. — According to the U.S. Supreme Court, about half of Oklahoma is considered Native American land. The state is home to 39 tribes and hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people.

READ MORE: Supreme Court rules much of eastern Oklahoma remains tribal reservation

Oklahoma also ranks in the top 10 in the nation for a troubling statistic, the number of missing or murdered indigenous people. In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigations estimated over 30,000 Native Americans were reported missing.

U.S. Attorneys Trent Shores and Brian Kuester are putting together a task force to reduce the staggering statistic here in Oklahoma. The task force will be a collaborative effort between tribal governments, law enforcement and other experts.

Pam Smith's niece Aubrey Dameron has been missing since March of 2019.

Smith said it's hard this time of year, not having Aubrey home.

“It’s an emptiness, you know, the holidays are very somber in the house," she said.

However, Smith said she has hope this new initiative will bring answers.

"It gives me hope that the more light shed on it that more people understand that this is a crisis that we’re dealing with," she said.

GALLERY: New task force to focus on murdered or missing Native Americans in Oklahoma

WATCH LIVE full announcement below:

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