On November 13, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed many of the country’s tribal leaders at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, celebrating a half century of tribal self-determination and marking the 50th anniversary of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s historic address to the National Congress of American Indians’ convention in Bismarck, North Dakota. Attorney General Holder also announced that the Department of Justice is planning to adopt a Statement of Principles to guide and inform all of our interactions with federally recognized Indian tribes and invited tribal leaders to government-to-government consultations with the Department of Justice on this proposed Statement.
The Department of Justice recognizes the unique legal relationship that the United States has with federally recognized tribes. This Statement of Principles will memorialize the Department of Justice’s determination to serve as a partner with tribal governments in fighting crime and enforcing the law in Indian country. It will reflect our shared bedrock values of opportunity, inclusion, and equal justice under law. Tribal governments have the ability to create and institute successful programs when provided with the resources and support to develop solutions that work best for their communities. This Statement of Principles will institutionalize our commitment to Indian tribes – serving as a blueprint for upholding and strengthening our trust responsibility, reinforcing relationships, developing innovative approaches for criminal justice reform, aggressively enforcing federal laws and civil rights protections, and supporting tribal sovereignty.
Read the Statement of Principles
Watch the video "A Turning in the Tide" about Robert F. Kennedy's historic 1963 speech to the National Congress of American Indians and how the Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, is working today more than ever to fulfill its commitment to foster equal justice, safety, partnership and self-government in Native American communities.