Informational: Attorney General Holder, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, Other Officials Hold Listening Conference With Tribal Leader
IN RAPID CITY & PINE RIDGE RESERVATION, SOUTH DAKOTA
Visit Coincides with One-Year Anniversary of the Tribal Law & Order Act
Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, joined Attorney General Eric Holder and other administration officials this week as they met with tribal leaders and advocates in the fields of tribal safety and domestic violence in Rapid City, S.D., and Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D. The tribal listening conference coincided with the one year anniversary of President Obama's signing of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) into law - a measure aimed at helping both tribal governments and the federal government better address the unique public safety challenges facing Native American communities across the country.
U.S. Attorney Cotter, Attorney General Holder, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, Assistant Attorney General Ignacia Moreno of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Secretary Larry Echo Hawk, and 30 other United States Attorneys engaged in a host of conversations, including combating violence against women, protecting tribal lands, honoring traditional Native American values, and training tribal prosecutors and police forces. U.S. Attorney Cotter has served on the Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS) of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, advising Attorney General Holder on Indian Country matters since his appointment as United States Attorney.
Attorney General Holder also participated in a special wreath laying ceremony at Wounded Knee. He is the first administration official since President Clinton in 1999 to visit the historic site.
It has been a priority of Attorney General Holder and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Montana to work with tribal leaders in Indian Country to enhance public safety," said U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter.
Soon after he came into office, Attorney General Eric Holder identified building and sustaining safe and secure tribal communities as one of the Department of Justice's top priorities. In June of 2009, the Department launched a wide-ranging initiative to strengthen public safety in Indian Country. Since that time, the Department has taken a number of steps to deepen its commitment to tribal communities and to develop more effective partnership with tribal leaders, police, prosecutors, courts, and advocates to combat crime in tribal communities.
Also this week, the Justice Department is hosting the 2011 National Intertribal Youth Summit in Santa Fe, NM, convening 175 young men and women from nearly 50 tribal communities across the country for the week-long summit. The summit features administration officials from the White House and the Departments of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services and Education, and provides an opportunity for Obama administration officials to hear directly from youth in Indian Country.
Last week, the Obama Administration unveiled a new proposal for legislation to combat the epidemic rates of violence against Native women in Indian Country. The proposed legislation offers a broader set of tools for Federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes. It builds on the philosophy of the TLOA by recognizing that tribal authorities, in collaboration with their federal partners, are best able to address crime in their communities if they are given the tools and resources needed to do it.
For a list of the Justice Department's accomplishments in Indian Country, please visit: http://www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov/docs/indian-country-accomplishments.pdf