The director of Minnesota’s new Office of Missing And Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) has been named. Juliet Rudie, a tribal member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community and lifelong Minnesota resident, will lead the first office of its kind in the nation.
The MMIR office will be housed in the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs (DPS-OJP) and will focus on missing and murdered Indigenous relatives. The office will work with the 11 sovereign tribal nations in Minnesota; federal, state, and local law enforcement; federal and state agencies; and community-based organizations and advocates. Additional staff for the office will be hired as well.
Rudie’s career in public safety spans almost 28 years. She began as a patrol officer with the Saint Paul Police Department in 1990, later serving as a sergeant assigned to various divisions including Juvenile Investigations, Missing Persons, and the Director of Training. Rudie joined the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 2011, serving as an Inspector, Undersheriff of the Administration Division and Chief Deputy.
“The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office continues the work of addressing the root causes of the epidemic of violence faced by Native women, girls, and two-spirit relatives,” said Governor Tim Walz. “Ms. Juliet Rudie brings a wealth of experience to this role and this office to help coordinate the efforts of tribal nations, law enforcement, federal and state agencies, and communities, so we can ultimately end this crisis.”
“For far too long, Native women and girls, men and boys, and two-spirit relatives have been disproportionately impacted by violence. It is through generations of advocacy from elders, mothers, sisters, and friends that we are able to launch the first-of-its-kind Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office, now under the leadership of Ms. Juliet Rudie,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan (Ojibwe). “We have made critical strides in the last few years in Minnesota to better address and disrupt these cycles of violence, and I look forward to the MMIR Office making more progress under the direction of Ms. Rudie.”
“We need to shine a light on the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people and seek justice for Native Americans,” said DPS Commissioner John Harrington. “Ms. Rudie will lead the work of this new office to promote the empowerment of Native American women and pursue safeguards for Native American women, relatives, and children. The programs and services will foster safety, equity, healing, civil and human rights of Indigenous peoples and communities in Minnesota.”
The first-in-the-nation MMIR office was a recommendation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Task Force, which found that while Native Americans make up 1 percent of Minnesota’s population, they account for approximately 9 percent of all murdered girls and women in the state during the last decade. Anywhere from 27 to 54 Indigenous women and girls were missing in Minnesota in any given month from 2012 to 2020.
Legislation to establish the MMIR office was signed into law by Governor Tim Walz in 2021. The office will also help develop and implement future legislation and transformative social justice policies.
Rudie begins her new duties as director of the MMIR Office on Feb.28.
For more information on the work of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, see: ojp.dps.mn.gov.