U.S. Attorney’s Office hosts United Against Hate meeting with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on the Flathead Indian Reservation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
BILLINGS — The U.S. Attorney’s Office held a United Against Hate meeting Wednesday evening in Pablo, on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes community and federal, tribal and local law enforcement, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
United Against Hate is an initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Justice focused on improving the prevention of hate crimes and hate incidents by building relationships at the local level. Through this initiative, the Justice Department seeks to create and strengthen partnerships among law enforcement, community leaders and residents.
“Hate crimes and incidents create fear, divide our communities, and tragically, can turn violent. Through our United Against Hate initiative, the U.S. Justice Department is committed to fighting hate crimes and preventing violence by bringing people together to discuss how we can combat this behavior. Last month, the FBI released its statistics for 2022, which showed that less than 2 percent of all reported hate crimes were committed against an American Indian or Alaska Native, and that none of those was reported to have occurred in Montana—a first since 2015. We know that statistics tell only part of the story, and we know more hate crimes against American Indian or Alaska Natives are occurring and are going unreported or are underreported. Our hope is that by having meetings like this, we can stress the importance of identifying hate incidents and crimes and reporting them to law enforcement. If we can prove a person violently acted out due to their racist beliefs, we will seek to hold such conduct accountable by aggressively pursuing a hate crime prosecution. I thank our close partner, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, for joining us in this important work,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.
“The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes appreciate the United Against Hate initiative led in Montana by U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich. We know that many of these types of crimes against Indigenous peoples are underreported or go unreported altogether. With this type of community outreach, we want our community to feel empowered when they are faced with hate crimes, and that people have the tools and knowledge to engage with law enforcement to help stop these destructive instances,” CSKT Chairman Tom McDonald said.
The meeting with CSKT is one in a series of meetings the U.S. Attorney’s Office is holding throughout Montana and provided an opportunity for the tribal community to have a better understanding of hate crimes and hate incidents, how to report them to law enforcement and to learn about available resources. Approximately 30 persons attended the meeting, which was held at the Tribal Council Chambers in Pablo. Additional Justice Department information and resources about hate crimes are available at https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.
Speakers at the event included U.S. Attorney Laslovich and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon, from the Missoula Division Office. In addition, the event featured a Hate Crimes Panel Discussion and question and comment session that included U.S. Attorney Laslovich, FBI Special Agent Charles Sampson and CSKT Police Chief Craige Couture. CSKT Chairman Tom McDonald and CSKT Councilwoman Jennifer Finley provided welcoming and concluding remarks.
The District of Montana will be holding additional United Against Hate events in coming months in communities across the state.
Clair J. Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated November 30, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-449