Over 300 tribal leaders, health and law enforcement professionals from across the country are meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo to begin the latest in a series of sessions to improve collaboration with tribal governments and policy leaders. This national gathering, held in partnership with several other federal agencies, is an opportunity to converse face-to-face on a range of important topics and to attend workshops on some pressing issues. Our list is long but some of the topics that we’ll be discussing include:
- the implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act,
- the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act;
- Tribal Youth Programs; suicide prevention;
- alcohol and substance abuse action planning; and
- sex offender registration and notification.
Marylou Leary, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs, describes the scope and purpose of the Session like this:
“The Tribal, Justice, Safety, and Wellness Session is an embodiment of the Justice Department's continuing commitment to build and sustain safe and healthy communities in Indian country. We can only accomplish this goal through active engagement and collaboration with communities, many of whom are undertaking ground-breaking programs to address their most pressing issues in ways that also strengthen capacity and self-determination.”
The conference will also include consultations with tribal leaders on the Justice Department’s streamlined grant-making effort (Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation - CTAS), the Tribal Law and Order Act Long Term Plan to Build and Enhance Tribal Justice Systems (Tribal Justice Plan), and the Annual Tribal Consultation on Violence Against Native Women. Susan B. Carbon, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, describes the importance of the sessions in this way:
“The Office on Violence Against Women looks forward to strengthening our efforts to improve the responses to violence against women in tribal communities by actively participating in the ongoing dialogue with tribal leaders, consultation participants, task force members and CTAS grantees. We need to hear the unique perspectives of all our partners as we improve our funding, research, and programmatic activities. The safety of American Indian women is my priority and a priority of this Administration.”
Bernard Melekian, the COPS Office Director, stated:
“The COPS Office is proud to be a part of this comprehensive approach to developing the training and resources necessary for enhanced public safety in tribal communities. This federal partnership was created because of the guidance tribal leaders have provided the department. Nothing can replace hearing directly from tribal leaders about how we can better serve their communities. Together, we are offering maximum flexibility in our grant programs and services to tribal law enforcement, delivered in a much more efficient and effective manner.”
This week’s Interdepartmental Tribal, Justice, Safety, and Wellness representatives include the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Native American Issues Subcommittee in the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, Office of Tribal Justice, and Office on Violence Against Women; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Indian Health Service, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Office of Minority Health in the Office of the Secretary; Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Office of Native American Programs; the Small Business Administration; and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Find more information on Department-wide initiatives in Indian country at www.justice.gov/tribal.