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Amber Schindeldecker  651-201-7576
February 14, 2024
Missing and murdered Indigenous relatives license plate now available
Fees will fund tips and rewards for cases of missing or murdered Indigenous people
​​​​ST. PAUL – In the Ojibwe language, “Gaagige-Mikwendaagoziwag” (gah-GHEE-gay-MICK-when-da-go-ZEE-wahg) means, “They will be remembered forever.” That’s exactly what the Minnesota Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Office and the Gaagige-Mikwendaagoziwag Reward Fund Board aim to do with the release of a special license plate on this MMIR Day of Remembrance.

The new MMIR plate features a red handprint, which symbolizes the historic silencing of the violence that Indigenous people have faced for generations and the dedication to hearing those voices moving forward. The ribbon skirt includes the sacred colors (red, white, yellow and black) of the four directions: north, south east and west.​

“Our missing and murdered Indigenous relatives deserve more than just one day,” said MMIR Office Director Juliet Rudie. “Their cases, as well as their loved ones’ cries for justice, have gone silent for far too long.”

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Minnesota Crime Data Explorer shows that there were six reported Indigenous victims of homicide or non-negligent manslaughter in Minnesota last year. That accounts for 4.41 percent of all reported homicides or non-negligent manslaughters. In 2023 alone, the MMIR Office supported 13 cases with services and resources. Staff also conducted referrals or consults on eight additional cases.

Visibility is key. This license plate amplifies the stories of Minnesota’s missing and murdered relatives. On Feb. 14, Minnesotans bring visibility to MMIR cases in places like Minneapolis, Bemidji, Duluth and throughout Indian Country.

“Every year, families march while carrying signs with their loved one’s name and picture,” said Rudie. “Now they can also buy an MMIR plate to spread awareness every day, with each mile they travel.”

This new plate will be available for order on Feb. 14. It is made on demand so it can be customized. It will cost $15.50 and requires a minimum $25 annual contribution to the Gaagige-Mikwendaagoziwag Reward Account.

Funds from the reward account will bring awareness to cases, educate the public and prevent future cases. The reward fund board recently developed a policy that will consider rewards for tips that lead to a resolution with MMIR cases through an arrest, conviction or return of the individual.

This plate joins several tribal nations within Minnesota that also have special MMIR license plates. They include: Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Visit drive.mn.gov to order an MMIR license plate online or find an office to buy them in person.

MMIR License Plate 

About the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Office

In 2021, Gov. Tim Walz​​ signed into law the legislation that established the first-in-the-nation MMIR Office. Staff began its inaugural year of work in 2023.

  • The MMIR Office is here to help if a loved one goes missing. Families must reach out after opening an active missing persons case with law enforcement.
    • When a loved one is missing, time is critical! There is no required waiting period to​ report a loved one missing to law enforcement.
    • Request MMIR Office services.
Staff are housed in the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and will work to implement the recommendations of the 2019 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. ​​​Read the MMIR O​ffice’s 2023 annual report.

About the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 10 divisions where 2,200 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov