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Thursday, August 31, 2023

American Indian Law Alliance partners with National Institute for Law and Justice to address MMIR crisis

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In a groundbreaking move, the American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) on AUGUST 22 2023, announced its partnership with the National Institute for Law and Justice (NILJ) to intensify efforts in solving cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR).

Since its inception in 1989, AILA has championed the causes of Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations, tirelessly advocating for sovereignty, human rights, and social justice. Their profound expertise in these realms will synergize with the capabilities of NILJ, which was established in 2021.

NILJ’s primary mission is to provide investigative support—at no cost—for victims and their families, enabling them to present their individual cases for expert review by decorated retired NYPD homicide detectives and a network of forensic and investigation specialists.  This includes current and cold MMIR cases, ensuring justice and closure are achievable for all, irrespective of financial barriers.

“What sets NILJ apart from other organizations is that they are committed and are passionate about doing the work of bringing our relatives home and investigating these cases,” said Gaeñ hia uh, Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation, Snipe Clan), Executive Director of American Indian Law Alliance. “In their retirement, these dedicated men are choosing to bring some sense of closure to these mourning families.”

Detective Mark Pucci, Founder and CEO of NILJ added, “This partnership with AILA is pivotal in our dedication to reach and help Indigenous families who otherwise might not know about our organization.”

Together, NILJ and AILA will address the MMIR crisis and bring resolution to families whose loved ones are missing and/or murdered. Their efforts will spotlight the struggles of Indigenous communities and advocate for legislative and policy changes at the national level.

The organizations invite public engagement, urging policymakers, stakeholders, and the community at large to rally behind this crucial mission.

To submit a case for review, family members whose loved ones are missing or have been murdered are encouraged to visit https://nilj.org/contact-us or call 1-833-FIND-ME.

AILA and NILJ are passionate about working together to help support the families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, 2Spirit folks, and all Indigenous Relations coming home. 

“The Two Row Wampum belt treaty reminds us that we are traveling down this river of life side-by-side with one another,” added Betty Lyons. “Let’s work together to reunite families.”


About AILA
: The American Indian Law Alliance (AILA), established in 1989, as an Indigenous, non-profit, non-partisan organization. AILA collaborates with Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations to advocate for sovereignty, human rights, and social justice, steadfastly championing the rights and needs of Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island. For more information, visit https://aila.ngo/.

About NILJ: Founded in 2022, the National Institute for Law and Justice (NILJ) offers victims, their families, and loved ones the opportunity to present their missing persons and homicide cases—at no cost—for expert review, bridging financial gaps and ensuring professional investigations. The nonprofit organization is committed to unveiling the truth, serving justice, and providing closure to all affected parties. For more information, visit https://nilj.org.

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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