JUNEAU, AK (May 7, 2022) – The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) congratulates tribal citizen and former Chief Justice Michelle Demmert who has been appointed to the Not Invisible Act Commission.
Demmert is one of 37 members selected by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to serve on the commission which is composed of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing and murdered individuals, and survivors.
“Michelle has been a tireless advocate at every level. Her role and participation will continue to bring the voice needed to make true change," shared President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson.
The Not Invisible Act of 2019 was signed into law in October 2020 to identify and address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked American Indians and Alaska Natives by increasing intergovernmental coordination and improving cooperation between federal agencies. It also mandates the creation of an advisory committee on violent crimes within Indian lands and against American Indians and Alaska Natives.
"The commission has important work before us," shared Demmert. "I hope to contribute to the work to benefit all of Indian country, but especially our Alaska tribal communities. Our challenges are great and while we have made progress, we still have a lot of education and change to make. I hope I can be part of the change that contributes to the safety in our communities."
The commission’s purpose is to make recommendations to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to improve intergovernmental coordination and establish best practices for state, tribal, and federal law enforcement to combat the epidemic of missing, murdered, and trafficked American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Tribal citizen Kerri Colfer was also appointed to the commission. She currently serves as the Senior Native Affairs Advisor for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and formerly served as Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. where she worked with Native and non-Native partners and members of congress to advance Native policy with a focus on addressing violence against Native women.
The commission will develop and make publicly available recommendations no later than 18 months after holding their first meeting. Following receipt of the commission’s recommendations, the DOI and DOJ are required to submit a written response no later than 90 days.