HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A new task force is beginning its work to identify jurisdictional barriers that limit cooperation among local, state, federal and tribal agencies in reporting and searching for missing Native Americans.

The Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force also will award a grant to a tribal college to create a database of missing Native Americans.

Hollie Mackey is a Northern Cheyenne who is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma. She led the discussion during Tuesday's meeting in Helena, saying such a coordinated effort is a new undertaking.

The task force will study the disproportionate rate at which Native American women and children go missing and ways various law enforcement agencies can work together to find them. The task force will report back to lawmakers in September 2020 with policy suggestions.

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