FBI dedicates investigative resources to Indigenous women and children in ‘Operation Not Forgotten’

Sep 29, 2023, 1:55 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm

FILE - A sign marks Navajo Drive, as Sentinel Mesa, homes and other structures in Oljato-Monument V...

FILE - A sign marks Navajo Drive, as Sentinel Mesa, homes and other structures in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, on the Navajo Reservation, stand in the distance, on April 30, 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide a critical water rights case in the water-scarce Southwest. The high court will hold oral arguments Monday, March 20, 2023, in a case with critical implications for how water from the drought-stricken Colorado River is shared and the extent of the U.S. government’s obligations to Native American tribes. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI dedicated over 40 FBI personnel to Operation Not Forgotten, an operation designated to support women and children in indigenous communities.

Throughout the operation, over 220 cases were handled by these investigators, according to a statement from the FBI.

The FBI  deployed special agents, intelligence analysts, staff operational specialists, and victim specialists to 10 FBI field offices in locations that support indigenous communities, including Salt Lake City.

MMIW Task Force aims to solve, prevent murders and disappearances of indigenous people

Their goal was to examine cases and apply resources to seek justice for women and children who had been victims of crime.

“Operation Not Forgotten reflects the FBI’s relentless and continued commitment to ensuring the safety and security of women and children in indigenous communities,” FBI Deputy Director, Paul Abbate, said. “By expanding our presence in Indian Country and working closely with tribal law enforcement agencies and community advocates, the FBI aims to achieve meaningful and impactful progress in solving these cases and bringing justice for victims and their families and loved ones.”

The release explained that the enhanced presence allows the FBI to provide faster response and better support to investigations into crimes that “disproportionately affect women and children in these areas.”

In coordination with investigators, victim specialists provide critical support to victims and families. They are given specialized training to understand the cultural sensitivities and unique needs of indigenous victims, ensuring that voices are heard, rights are protected, and the necessary resources for healing and recovery are received.

As part of this initiative, the Salt Lake City FBI received six special agents and a staff operations specialist who spent 30 to 90 days on temporary assignment between July and September 2023.  Resident agencies in the Montana Hi-Line, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Vernal, Utah each received one special agent. Three special agents and the SOS were staffed in Billings, Montana.

“We recognize that Indigenous women and children are too often the victims of violent crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI. “This operation reaffirms our commitment to keeping our tribal communities safe and working closely with our tribal partners to hold perpetrators accountable. Every victim matters, and every family deserves justice for criminal actions against their loved ones.”

FBI field offices receiving dedicated personnel include:

  • Albuquerque
  • Detroit
  • Denver
  • Minneapolis
  • Oklahoma City
  • Omaha
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Seattle
  • Salt Lake City

Individuals with any relevant information are encouraged to visit tips.fbi.gov to submit an online tip or contact their local FBI office.

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FBI dedicates investigative resources to Indigenous women and children in ‘Operation Not Forgotten’