PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Attorney General Eric Holder served as the keynote speaker at the 12th National Indian Nations Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., during a week of outreach events organized by the Department of Justice that brought together tribal leaders and youth, law enforcement officers, lawyers and judges, policy experts and health and social services providers, and representatives from federal, state, local and tribal governments.
The week commenced with the Justice Department’s Interdepartmental Tribal Justice, Safety and Wellness Session from Monday, Dec. 6 through Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, followed by the National Indian Nations Conference sponsored by Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crimes (OVC) from Dec. 9 through Dec. 11, 2010.
“With the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act, we are witnessing tangible progress toward a healthier, brighter future for Native Americans,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “ I want to reaffirm the Justice Department’s commitment – and my own commitment – to building and sustaining healthy and safe native communities; to renewing our nation’s enduring promise to American Indians and Alaska Natives; to respecting the sovereignty and self-determination of tribal governments; and to ensuring that the progress we have achieved in recent years is not derailed.”
The Justice Department’s Interdepartmental Tribal Justice, Safety and Wellness Session included workshops and plenary sessions that focused on Native American wellness, examining topics such as tribal youth programs; victim’s assistance; suicide prevention; alcohol and substance abuse; community-based partnerships; domestic violence and sexual assault; and data reporting and information sharing. The session also featured a consultation on implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act with t ribal leaders and top Department of Justice officials. The session was co-sponsored by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The 12th National Indian Nations Conference, which runs until Saturday, is coordinated by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute under a grant from OVC. The conference is focused on bringing together Native American victims, victim advocates, as well as federal and state agency representatives, to share their knowledge, experiences and ideas for developing programs that serve the unique needs of crime victims in Indian Country.
The roots of this conference stretch back more than two decades: the OVC organized the very first National Indian Nations Conference in 1988.
“In this time of growing demands and limited resources, the fact that a record number of attendees – more than 900 – have gathered for this conference is evidence of your commitment to meeting the challenges we face,” said Attorney General Holder. “It also speaks volumes about the impact and importance of this biennial meeting.”
The Interdepartmental Tribal Justice, Safety and Wellness Session and the 12th National Indian Nations Conference are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to create better communication and coordination to fight crime and promote justice in tribal communities. More information on the Interdepartmental Tribal Justice, Safety and Wellness Session is available at: www.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary. More information on the 12th National Indian Nations Conference is available at: www.ovcinc.org/agenda .