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Cherokee Nation hires criminal investigator to work missing and murdered Indigenous people cases

Perry Proctor
Perry Proctor

This week, the Cherokee Nation announced Perry Proctor as a criminal investigator to work Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases.

Indigenous peoples’ rate of murder, rape and violent crimes are higher than national averages, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs. In 2016, 81.6% of Indigenous men and 84.3% of Indigenous women have experienced violence, and over half of the number of women experienced sexual violence, according to theNational Institute of Justice.

Since the McGirt v. Oklahoma and Hogner v. Oklahoma decisions, Cherokee Nation Marshals have criminal jurisdiction over 7,000 square miles of the Cherokee Nation reservation. The nation hired Proctor to help in Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases.

“We’re here for the victims and victim’s families who need someone to turn to,” Proctor said. “I certainly don’t work alone, there are other investigators who help me, but we do need someone coordinating, and moving things along to see if we can find resolution for some of our missing tribal citizens.”

Proctor, a tribal citizen, has been in law enforcement since 1976. He is a former Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation cold case detective and Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator.

This past year, Proctor worked on assigned Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases at the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. Proctor said he wants to see a combined effort with local, state and federal agencies to assist in the cases.

“Other things we hope to bring is some additional people to be assigned these cases and to work these cases,” Proctor said. “Especially when you're dealing with cold cases. You have to go back and reread everything that’s been done and then try to determine what needs to be done.”

The nation has worked on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases and led searches, and Proctor said he was able to find missing individuals. He said helping people is gratifying, and every day brings a new situation, but that is the nature of the work.

Those who have information or tips on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People cases involving Cherokee Nation citizens or the Cherokee Nation Reservation can call the Marshal Service at 918-207-3800.

Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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