Feather Alert will be the newest addition to law enforcement alert systems

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. ( KSEE/KGPE ) – A new kind of alert, called the Feather Alert is centered around informing the public when an indigenous person goes missing, specifically women and children.

At Chukchansi Casino, on tribal land, several different tribes and state assembly members gathered to celebrate a new preventative measure to try and reduce the number of missing or murdered indigenous women on state reservations.

“When we first started diving into the Murdered or Missing Indigenous Women’s (MMIW) issue in the state of California. California was number seven on the list, but during that time, California has gained traction and is now number five on that list,” said Assemblyman James Ramos.

Assemblyman James Ramos authored the Feather Alert bill, to try and bring that number of MMIWs down.

“We know it’s needed. We had a tribal chairman from Hoopa. Since he’s been elected chair in 2021, there’s been 4 [unsolved] murders with his people.”

Four years ago, he was the first indigenous person, and right now, is the only indigenous person elected to serve in the state’s legislature.

“But we also see the relationship building starting to take place with the local law enforcement, from the local jurisdictions and the state jurisdictions with the CHP,” he said.

“I can narrow it down to a pinpoint. I can make it a tenth of a mile, five miles,” said Captain Ken Roberts.

Captain Roberts is the coordinator for the state’s AMBER alert system.

The amber alert and silver alert systems sent to our cell phones will both be used for the feather alert.

Local law enforcement has to request for the CHP to send out an alert.

It is specifically for women and children missing from tribal lands but can be used for any indigenous persons.

The alert doesn’t go into effect until January 1st, 2023, but for Ramos, the bill cannot come soon enough.

“It’s disheartening and it had to take a California Indian person to get elected into the state legislature for the state of California to start to shed light, on this that’s been going on ever since I was growing up on the San Manuel Indian Reservation,” he said.

Ramos is now working on a bill to change and hopefully stop derogatory names towards indigenous peoples.

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