California’s New Feather Alert
Native American women are murdered at rates ten times higher than the national average. The third leading cause of death among Americans is COVID-19, however, for indigenous women specifically, it is murder. Assembly bill 1314 introduced the Feather Alert. The Feather Alert is similar to the Amber Alert, it sends out an alert to Californians in any given area to draw attention to a vehicle or missing person.
The Feather Alert can only be activated under certain circumstances. According to the California Highway Patrol, the circumstances are as follows;
1. The missing person is an indigenous woman or indigenous person.
2. The investigating law enforcement agency has utilized available local and tribal resources.
3. The law enforcement agency determines that the person has gone missing under unexplainable or suspicious circumstances.
4. The law enforcement agency believes that the person is in danger.
5. There is information available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person.
Not only are native women being murdered at an alarming rate, but it is all native people. According to Nativehope.org, 82% of native men are victims of some type of violence within their lifetime. The number of MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) or MMIP (Missing and Murdered Indigenous People) is on the rise, 506 cases of missing indigenous were found in only 71 urban areas.
This is why the Feather Alert is important, native people are going missing in higher numbers than other Americans, and urban police are seemingly not caring about MMIP as much as they care about other demographics. The Feather Alert will help bring awareness to MMIP and potentially reduce the amount of MMIP cases that go unsolved.
Like the Feather Alert, there are other alert systems established in California. The AMBER alert is a national system that alerts Americans about a child who has been abducted. The Blue Alert alerts the public of attacks on law enforcement that could pose a potential danger to Californians. The Silver Alert notifies the public of an elderly or cognitively disabled person who goes missing or is in danger. Lastly, the Yellow Alert alerts the public of a suspect who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run incident and has fled the scene. Like the Feather Alert, the above alert systems assist in keeping Californians safe.
The Feather Alert was proposed by Assemblymember James C. Ramos. Ramos, a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe, who is a resident of the San Manuel Indian Reservation. Ramos represents the 45th district which includes Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Muscoy, Redlands, Rialto, and San Bernardino.