Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $900,000)
Purpose Area # 3 Cover Sheet: Yurok Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Project
The Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation is a federally recognized tribe located in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, in Northern California. The Yurok Tribe will improve and increase the Tribe’s capacity to respond to current and cold cases involving Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) in the local region. The project will do this by hiring one full-time Prosecutorial Investigator to follow up on local community tips and assist in finding the loved ones of those that are missing or murdered with no proper closure. The project will also purchase the necessary equipment to assist in searches including ground-penetrating radar, sonar machine, drone, and 3D scanner. The project will support the Prosecutor’s office by expanding capacity in investigation, documentation, prosecution, interviewing, and collaboration for local tribal MMIP cases. The Project will train the hired staff in using ground-penetrating radars, investigative techniques for missing people, and knowledge of the many tools available to investigate crimes. The Project will also purchase fireproof cabinets that will protect the ability to retain evidence in the case of attempted tampering of evidence by defendants. The project is an innovative attempt to provide a tribal justice system with the tools it needs to protect its people, prosecute offenders, bring closure to families, and develop the capacity to be a model for other tribes. The service area the project will focus on is Northern California particularly those cases within the Yurok service area of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and all cases involving Yurok tribal members. The project will benefit the families of those missing and murdered cases, as well as the local tribal community.