Tribal Consultations & Advisory Groups

The Bureau of Justice Assistance to Consult with Tribal Leadership on Strengthening Public Safety and Law Enforcement to Address Violent Crime in Tribal Communities and Native Villages

The goal of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Annual Tribal Consultation with tribal leaders and tribal designees is to identify criminal justice policy issues and tribal priorities to support tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities. The ultimate goals are to improve law enforcement and public safety in tribal communities and native villages; and support grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state, and tribal law enforcement in achieving safer communities. The BJA Tribal Consultation Virtual Session will be held on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

During this session, BJA will hear from tribal leaders and stakeholders to help inform how BJA tribal assistance funds and programs can best support Tribal and Native communities. Focus areas will include: comprehensive justice system planning; tribal justice facilities; court system enhancements; alcohol and substance abuse programs; civil and criminal legal assistance; alternatives to incarceration; addressing violent crime in Native communities; and other priorities. By identifying and clarifying those priorities, the session will result in more efficient delivery of needed grant funding, and in turn enhanced safety and security in tribal communities and native villages. This session will include a facilitated question-and-answer session for tribal leadership.

Register Here

 View the Dear Tribal Leader Invitation on this subject.

A framing paper has been developed to help guide tribes as they consider and provide their positions during the virtual session and is available online at the BJA Tribal Consultation webpage.

Annual Tribal Consultation

When the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed in 1994, it established a framework for the federal government to respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The legislation authorizes programs and funding streams designed to help protect victims and promote justice. Subsequent reauthorizations of VAWA added dating violence and included specific provisions for addressing violence against AI/AN women, including responses to sex trafficking. Among those provisions, VAWA 2013 affirmed Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ), under which federally recognized tribal governments can prosecute certain non-Indian perpetrators for crimes of domestic or dating violence or violations of qualifying protection orders that occur on tribal lands.

VAWA requires the Attorney General to conduct government-to-government consultation with tribal nations to gather input on how to best administer tribal funds and programs established by VAWA and subsequent legislation. DOJ OVW hosts an annual tribal consultation, at which representatives from DOJ, HHS, and DOI hear testimony from tribal leaders and their delegates and seek recommendations regarding:

  • Administering funds and programs;
  • Enhancing the safety of AI/AN women from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sex trafficking; and
  • Strengthening the federal response to these crimes.

2019 Tribal Consultation Annual Report |  2018 Tribal Consultation Annual Report

DOJ Consultation on Strenghthening our Nation-to-Nation Relationship

In accordance with President Biden’s January 26, 2021, Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, DOJ held government-to-government consultations with Tribal leaders on April 7, 8, and 9, 2021. The invitation letter and framing paper provide background information on the consultations. The final report may be accessed here. Please feel free to contact with any questions.

Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Tribal Consultations and Listening Sessions

The Presidential Task force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives announced a series of field consultations and listening sessions to occur across the United States in the coming months.  

American Indians and Alaska Natives experience disproportionately high rates of violence. President Trump has called the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans “sobering and heartbreaking.”  The task force, designated Operation Lady Justice, has been empowered to review Indian Country cold cases, to strengthen law enforcement protocols, and work with tribes to improve investigations, information sharing and a more seamless response to missing persons investigations.

Confirmed dates and locations

Tribal Consultation on DOJ, OJP Programs, Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 Tribal Funding Policy

WATCH IT ONLINE: OJP Fiscal Years 2018-19 Tribal Funding Policy Webinar
Also available: Read the Slides Presented during the OJP Fiscal Years 2018-19 Tribal Funding Policy Webinar

(This webinar was hosted live by DOJ on Feb. 6, 2018)
This webinar provided background information and an opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the framing paper and background information in preparation for the Feb.15, 2018 Tribal Consultation on Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 Tribal Funding Policy. To access the framing paper, go here.

Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls

At the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) in June 2016, the Presidents of the United States and Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada discussed a variety of topics impacting their shared borders. Among the many outcomes from the Summit was a commitment to address the high levels of violence against indigenous women and girls in the three countries. Indigenous women and girls in North America endure high levels of violence that need increased attention and coordination.

At the June 2016 Summit, the three countries formed the Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls. The Working Group’s first meeting occurred in Washington, D.C., in October 2016. The second meeting occurred in Ottawa, Canada, on November 30, 2017. The U.S. Delegation was led by Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. At the meeting, Associate Attorney General Brand announced plans to direct the National Institute of Justice to adapt an ongoing study on violence in Indian Country to add an inquiry about the prevalence rates of human trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls.

The third meeting of the Working Group will take place in Mexico in 2018.

Read more about the second meeting of the Working Group, November 30, 2017.

See the Attorney General’s announcement of actions to maintain public safety in Indian Country, April 2017.

Read the Attorney General's closing remarks from the first meeting of the Working Group, October 2016.

Consultation on Public Safety in Alaska

As originally announced on July 8, 2016, pursuant to the former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s visit to Alaska on June 10, 2016, and in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and the Department of Justice's Consultation Policy, the Department of Justice consulted with tribal leaders to establish a concrete plan to better address the unique public safety concerns in Alaska Native communities. Alaska presents a law enforcement challenge different from any other place in America. However, the United States, and the Department of Justice, have a trust responsibility to Alaska Native villagers, just as we have to American Indians in the lower 48 states. The Department of Justice is committed to establishing a clear path to more effectively address public safety concerns. The final report was released in January 2017.

Consultation on Distribution of Volkswagen Settlement Trust

As initially announced on July 8, 2016, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency will consult with tribal leaders on the process for distribution of the Tribal Allocation Subaccount of the Environmental Mitigation Trust to be established under a partial settlement of In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation.  Under the partial settlement of EPA’s Clean Air Act claims in In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 15-md-2672 CRB (JSC) (N.D. Cal.), the Settling Defendants are required to establish an Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust) to fund specific actions to mitigate excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the cars subject to the lawsuit by reducing NOx emissions from other sources (Eligible Mitigation Actions). The final report was released in October 2017.

Tribal Consultation History

Former President Barack Obama signed the Memorandum on Tribal Consultation on Nov. 5, 2009. This document  pronounces tribal consultations "a critical ingredient of a sound and productive Federal-tribal relationship." The president further directed all federal agencies to develop a detailed plan of the actions taken to fully implement former President Bill Clinton's Executive Order 13175 on "Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments" within ninety days. Within  270 days and annually thereafter  agencies were directed to provide a progress report on implementation and any updates to the plan. Executive Order 13175 sets forth criteria "to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have tribal implications."

The Justice Department embraces this responsibility and the principles of tribal sovereignty and Indian self-determination. The Department has developed a plan as required and, at all levels, is committed to comprehensive communication and coordination policy with tribes predicated on robust tribal input.

Guiding Principles:

Department's efforts are guided by three principles:

  • The Department must engage with tribal nations on a government-to-government basis.
  • Tribal sovereignty and Indian self-determination are now, and must always be, the foundations of every policy or program.
  • Communication and coordination — with our tribal partners, among federal agencies, and with our state and local counterparts — are essential to accountability and thus to success.

Justice Programs Council on Native American Affairs

The Justice Programs Council on Native American Affairs (JPCNAA) is the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) senior-level policy body established in 2005 under an approved charter by the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs to develop consistent tribal justice and safety policy, strategies and enhance coordination across the department.

In January 2007, Council membership was expanded to include all senior-level office leaders, who designated JPCNAA federal staff tribal liaisons from their respective bureaus and offices to remain abreast of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native American affairs. The OJP Assistant Attorney General chairs the council and the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General serves as the Vice-Chair.

The council meets semi-annually. The council helps to identify opportunities, programs, and address issues of concern to Indian Tribes and Native communities, coordinates, outreach and consultation on justice and safety issues affecting the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native American population nationwide. The JPCNAA also serves as a liaison advisory body to other Department of Justice agencies, bureaus and offices that desire to participate on the council.

OJP Members:

Bureau of Justice Assistance
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Equal Employment Opportunity Office
National Institute of Justice
Office of Administration
Office of Audit and Assessment Management
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Office of Communications
Office of the Chief Information officer
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Office of the General Counsel
Office for Victims of Crime
Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Office

Other DOJ Members:

Community Oriented Policing Services
Community Relations Services
Executive Office of United States Attorneys
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Indian Country Unit
Office of Civil Rights
Office of Tribal Justice
Office on Violence Against Women

JPCNAA Charter – Tribal Liaisons and Workgroups:  Section V. Organization

Liaisons:  Each JPCNAA Member shall identify at least one liaison to serve as a liaison to the Council. The Council Liaison must be knowledge about their respective agency’s bureau’s or office’s programs and budgets, have ready access to senior leadership, and be empowered to speak on behalf of their DOJ agency, bureau, or office. Members may identify additional staff members they believe are necessary to perform the JPCNAA liaison functions.

Workgroups or Advisory groups: The JPCNAA may create workgroups and advisory groups to carry out the work of the JPCNAA. Members may identify staff to perform the JPCNAA workgroup or advisory group activities.

JPCNAA Workgroups

JPCNAA Tribal Public Relations, Consultation, Education and Outreach Workgroup
To ensure a coordinated approach for all tribal press and related public relations activities, increase tribal education efforts regarding OJP and other DOJ components, develop internal communications strategy recommendations, and maintain up to date information for the Tribal Justice and Safety Website.

JPCNAA Research, Data Collection and Information Sharing Workgroup
Improve the coordination among OJP and other DOJ components working on Indian country issues to improve the quality, accessibility, and completeness of tribal justice statistics, research, evaluation, information technology, and information sharing.

JPCNAA Youth Initiatives Coordinating Workgroup
Improve coordination and information sharing between OJP and other DOJ components on Department initiatives and programs for youth, e.g., (Tribal Youth program, Drug Endangered Children, AMBER Alert, Defending Childhood, etc.)

JPCNAA Tribal Grants Policy/Training & Technical Assistance Workgroup
Develop a recommended AAG tribal grants policy, coordinate OJP training and technical assistance providers serving Indian country (CTAS), and develop a recommended training & technical assistance process for OJP to implement which can serve as a model for other DOJ components.

JPCNAA Federal Employee/Workforce Native Education & Training Workgroup
Support the Indian Affairs Executive Working Group development of a draft Executive Order/Proclamation and online training program designed for government-wide federal employee/workforce education and training about American Indian, Alaska Native, Native American (AI/AN/NA) tribal governments; and, to provide recommendations to implement the same programs tailored for DOJ purposes.

SUNSETTED: Tribal Justice Advisory Group
The Tribal Justice Advisory Group was established in 2007 to assist the AAG and JPCNAA with tribal advice on justice and safety issues. The Attorney General established a Tribal Nations Leadership Council (TNLC) in 2010. The TJAG was sunset to avoid conflict and duplication, and the TJAG Co-Chairs served as Ex Officio members for the initial TNLC year to assist with transition.


Updated September 3, 2021

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