The Justice Department today made public its plan of action, submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to improve consultation and coordination between the Justice Department and tribal nations, as directed by President Barack Obama’s Memorandum on Tribal Consultation. The Presidential Memorandum, signed on Nov. 5, 2009, at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, directed each federal agency to submit to OMB within 90 days a plan of action to implement President Clinton’s Executive Order 13175 on Consultation and Coordination with Tribal Governments. The Justice Department’s plan was submitted to OMB on January 27, 2010.
The Justice Department’s plan, which is available at: http://justice.gov/opa/documents/exec13175-consultation-policy.pdf, identifies the steps it will take to develop a comprehensive consultation and coordination policy with tribal nations, after robust tribal input. In addition, the department’s submission makes a commitment to:
- expand the role of the Office of Tribal Justice;
- create a Tribal Nations Leadership Council to ensure ongoing communication and collaboration with tribal governments;
- convene consultations between tribal leadership and U.S. Attorneys whose jurisdictions include federally-recognized Indian tribes;
- mandate annual meetings between the department’s grants offices and tribal leadership to discuss grants policies, concerns or funding priorities;
- create a new federal-tribal taskforce to develop strategies and guidance for federal and tribal prosecutions of crimes of violence against women in tribal communities; and
- publish a progress report within 270 days of the Presidential Memorandum evaluating the implementation of these reforms.
The Justice Department’s plan of action was driven largely by input gathered from the department’s own Tribal Nations Listening Session in late October 2009 and from the department’s annual tribal consultation on violence against women, as well as from written comments submitted by tribal governments, groups and organizations to the Justice Department and tribal consultation conference calls conducted by the Office of Tribal Justice.
The department’s plan to improve consultation and coordination with tribal governments comes a month after Attorney General Eric Holder announced sweeping reforms within the department to improve safety on tribal land. The Attorney General also announced that the Justice Department’s FY 2010 appropriation included an additional $6 million for Indian Country prosecution efforts, enabling the department to bring the federal justice system closer to Indian Country. For more information, go to: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/January/10-ag-019.html.