By Kayla Woody, CPN House of Hope Prevention Specialist

Throughout the United States and Canada, there is a widespread issue of violence against Indigenous people. For decades, Native American and Alaska Native communities have struggled with extremely high rates of violence. In 2018, Oklahoma was among the top 10 states with the highest number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases, and Oklahoma City was among the top 10 cities listed as having the highest number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women cases that were not in law enforcement records. Carmen Harvie, president of the Oklahoma state chapter of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, stated that there are about 500 Native Americans in Oklahoma who are missing or whose murder is unsolved.

This past November, House Bill 1077 took effect in the state. Known as Kasey Alert, the alert system is to help locate missing at-risk adults in Oklahoma between the ages of 18 and 59. The bill requires the Department of Public Safety to create and implement the program for critically missing adults, which will send out alerts with facts about the missing person and situation, along with information to contact tribal authorities in cases involving Native Americans. A critically missing adult is defined as someone whose whereabouts are unknown and who is believed to have been abducted or taken against their will. The state already had active Amber and Silver Alert systems for missing children and elderly individuals prior to the signing of the bill. This new alert would benefit those of a median age who are often overlooked.

The alert was established in honor of Kasey Russell, a 29-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen who went missing on June 27, 2016, and whose family struggled to get support from law enforcement. The author of the bill, Senator Cody Rogers stated, “This bill is named for a young man who disappeared while walking home from a casino, and he sadly never made it home. There was no investigation into his disappearance until his body was found. I appreciate my colleagues for supporting this measure as it will increase cooperation between agencies and speed up investigations for missing persons.”

Since November, five alerts were sent out, including one for missing 19-year-old Trey Glass, also a Cherokee Nation member, who went missing Dec. 15, 2023, and has yet to be located.

Although this is a step in the right direction to combating the ever-growing issue, there are still many barriers that Native families must face when trying to locate their loved ones. One requirement of the alert system is the filing of a police report. Unfortunately, many families are denied the ability to file those reports, and their stories are not regarded.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, intimate partner violence, and/or sexual assault and would like more information, please contact the House of Hope at 405-275-3176 or visit us online at