Skip to main content

Here's why a senator wants to name a law after a Fargo homicide victim

Savanna Greywind's death is being treated as part of an epidemic.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota says a bill she's pushing in hopes of reducing crimes against Native American women will be named after Savanna Greywind. 

Greywind, 22, was eight months pregnant when she was reported missing in Fargo in August. Authorities searching for her first found her newborn baby in an apartment. Days later Greywind's body was pulled from the Red River with authorities saying she'd died of "homicidal violence."

Heitkamp said in a statement Thursday that Greywind's death is part of an epidemic of missing and murdered Native women and girls. 

What the bill would do

Native women are murdered at a rate that's 10 times the national average, Heitkamp says, and in North Dakota alone there were at least 125 Native women reported missing last year. 

But the senator suspects an accurate count would be higher _ and that's part of the problem her bill tries to address. 

As the National Institute for Justice has pointed out, federal crime statistics generally don't include numbers from tribal reservations. 

Plus, Heitkamp says, tribal police don't have access to the criminal databases of federal agencies. She says "Savanna's Act" would improve coordination between law enforcement agencies – improving the chances of solving or preventing crimes.

Savanna as a symbol 

Savanna Greywind lived not on a reservation, but in an apartment in Fargo. Two of her neighbors are charged with killing her and have entered not guilty pleas. 

But the search for Greywind in her state's biggest city and the survival of her baby made her case unique and put her in the public eye.

Now, in death, she is becoming the face of the larger problem of Native women victimized by homicide, abduction, trafficking, and exploitation. 

After her death, the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center issued a statement on Greywind "and All Missing and Murdered Native Women & Girls." 

"There is so much work to be done to end this horrific legacy and history of violence against our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunties, and friends," they wrote. 

While Savanna's Act is pending in Washington, the Center has is working with tribes on the issue. A document they recently distributed is called "When a Woman is Missing: a Toolkit for Action." 

You can see Heitkamp's Senate floor speech about "Savanna's Act" here.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 7.04.37 PM

LIVE UPDATES: Dangerous storms move through Twin Cities

We'll have live updates as the storms move through the metro.

tornado

Tornado watch issued in Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

The watch will remain in place until midnight.

Wild fox.

Wild fox in Minnesota tests positive for highly contagious avian flu

This is the first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a wild mammal in the state, the Department of Natural Resources said.

New COVID-19 testing site in Midway neighborhood.

New COVID-19 testing site in St. Paul; 3 others to close as cases rise

Testing sites in Stillwater, Hutchinson, and St. Paul are closing as part of moves to adjust testing resources.

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 4.47.49 PM

St. Joseph man dies in motorcycle crash

The 27-year-old motorcyclist struck a curb, causing him to lose control before he crashed.

Downtown-Bike-Day_WS_No-logo

Downtown bike day—city biking at its best!

Move Minneapolis and ABC Ramps Mobility invite you to come along for the ride at Target Plaza on June 1, 2022

Anthony Skelley

Charges: South St. Paul teen killed during apparent marijuana sale

The individual accused of killing Skelley is a 17-year-old from St. Paul.

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards among NBA stars in Adam Sandler's Netflix film, 'Hustle'

The Timberwolves point guard stars alongside other NBA players LeBron James, Trae Young, Juancho Hernangomez and more.

police lights

Armed man found barricaded inside Brooklyn Park home, negotiators on scene

An active police presence remains in the area as negotiators speak with the suspect.

Anthony Skelley

17-year-old South St. Paul homicide victim is identified

The medical examiner determined that Skelley died of multiple gunshot wounds.

tornado, severe weather

Tornado watch issued in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska

Severe storms are expected to push into southwest Minnesota this afternoon.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.08.37 AM

Korean chicken chain Bonchon's 6th MN location set to open

The South Korean-based franchise has steadily increased its presence across the country.

Related

Here's the new economic plan from Minnesota's senators, other Dems

They don't have the votes to pass it, but they've got a plan

Here's why some U of M students want to change the name of the student union

An exhibit takes a new look at the namesake of the U of M's student union

Here's why a 'disease detective' says MN is not counting all the opioid deaths

A Minnesota study reveals a pitfall in tabulating opioid deaths.

North Dakota's famous albino bison, White Cloud, dies at age 20

The National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown says White Cloud died peacefully of old age

Pregnant Fargo woman who was missing died of 'homicidal violence'

Not much is known about how Savanna Greywind died.

Why Minnesotans still talk about Paul Wellstone 15 years after he died

Paul Wellstone's rise from an unknown to an inspiration lives on, 15 years after his death.

Here's how health care got back on the front burner in Washington

We thought the debate was over for this year, but now it's back. Here's why.

A Republican not named Mills is running for Rick Nolan's seat in Congress

Another Nolan/Mills rematch is still possible – but there's a new wrinkle now.