There are five federally-recognized tribes located in the Eastern District of Wisconsin:
1) Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin,
2) Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin
3) Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians
4) Sokoagon Chippewa Community-Mole Lake Band, and
5) Forest County Potawatomi
Crimes occurring on the Menominee Indian Reservation (MIR) are primarily governed by federal and tribal law. Crimes occurring on the lands of the other four tribes are governed by state criminal jurisdiction, pursuant to Public Law 280 (PL-280).
Because the majority of tribal land for each of these tribes is located in the northern part of the district, the Green Bay branch office has primary responsibility for handling matters that arise in Indian Country. The Green Bay branch office is staffed by three Assistant United States Attorneys, one of whom is the primary Tribal Liaison. The Green Bay office also includes a Victim/Witness Assistant and a legal assistant whose duties include working with Indian Country matters.
COORDINATED EFFORTS TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE CRIME IN INDIAN COUNTRY
Menominee Child Abuse Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT)
The United States Attorney’s Office was instrumental in creating the highly successful Menominee Tribal Multi-Disciplinary Team, which consists of representatives of Tribal, Federal and local agencies working together to promote coordination and cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and treatment of physical and sexual child abuse and criminal neglect cases on the Menominee Indian Reservation.
The team meets on a monthly basis at the Menominee Indian Reservation. The team approach is deemed necessary to conduct effective assessments, investigations, and prosecutions, and to avoid undue trauma to child victims and their families, and to protect the rights of the accused.
In 2003, the United States Attorney’s Office, Menominee Tribal Police, FBI, Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation, and the surrounding counties’ Sheriff’s Departments and District Attorney’s Offices formed a Menominee Indian Reservation Violent Crime/Safe Trails Task Force (STTF) to combat violent crime and drug trafficking on the MIR. STTF members are deputized federal officers who identify and target for prosecution individuals and groups involved in violent crimes including aggravated assault, child sexual abuse, drug distribution and gang activity.
The United States Attorney’s Office is an active partner in the Native American Drug and Gang Initiative (NADGI) in Wisconsin. This group, composed of nine Wisconsin tribes, takes a multi-jurisdictional approach to combating and reducing drug and gang activity. It’s mission is to share information and investigative resources to service Wisconsin Tribes and surrounding communities, to help reduce violence and crime on Indian Reservations.
Drug Endangered Children (DEC) in Indian Country
A Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Program, is a multidisciplinary team composed of members of the United States Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, human services, local prosecutors, the medical community, health department, probation and parole, schools, treatment centers, non-profit groups and concerned community members. DEC programs work together to identify and provide resources to Drug Endangered Children. Ultimately, DEC Programs interrupt the cycle of abuse created by drug endangered environments.
On April 29th & 30th, 2008, Wisconsin DEC, in coordination with the Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Taskforce (NADGI) held a special training session for each of Wisconsin’s 11 tribes held at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin. Conference highlights included an overview and awareness of DEC, case identification, child protective service referrals, medical information on DEC, unborn child exposures, victim/witness identification and processes, prosecution, corrections, family reunification. DEC continues to be an integral part of the Menominee Child Abuse Multi-disciplinary Team. A DEC protocol was approved by the Menominee Tribal Legislature in April, 2011.
William J. Roach and Faith T. Coburn, Indian Country Coordinators,
US Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin