Skip to main content
Blog Post

Deputy Attorney General Ogden at the Tribal Nations Listening Session

Today, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden was in St. Paul, Minnesota, to open the Department of Justice’s Tribal Nations Listening Session with many of the country's top tribal leaders. The Listening Session, which will occur over the next two days, seeks input from tribal leaders on how best to address the chronic problems of public safety in Indian Country. Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli will open tomorrow’s discussion leading up to the Attorney General's attendance and remarks in the afternoon. Public safety in Indian Country is an issue near and dear to the top three leaders of the Justice Department. It was a priority law enforcement initiative for them the last time they were at the Department under Attorney General Janet Reno in the 1990s. During his session with leaders this morning, Deputy Attorney General Ogden emphasized that renewed commitment:
There is a great deal to be done to provide American Indians and Alaska Natives with the level of public safety that most Americans take for granted. We do not underestimate the challenges. But we are actively focused on meeting them, and – together with all of you – we intend to make a real and lasting change. It's a tragedy that we still face many of the same problems identified a decade ago – far too few cops on the beat; substance abuse; escalating violence against women, children and elders; and lack of support for crime survivors, to name a few. We must do all we can to ensure that a year from now and a decade from now, things are different. This is about more than reducing crime. It's about improving the very quality of life in tribal communities, affording safe childhoods and adulthoods to our citizens, and painting the futures of our children and grandchildren in a warmer and brighter hue. We will not waver from our commitment. As the Department undertakes its new tribal justice initiative, we are aware of the history. We are aware that words too often have not been followed by deeds, or have been followed by grossly inadequate or contradictory ones. As Justice Hugo Black said in his historic dissent recognizing the sanctity of tribal lands in Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation: “Great nations, like great men, should keep their word.” We mean to keep our word.
Updated April 7, 2017