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Tribal Outreach

The Northern District of California (NDCA) has 33 federally recognized tribes located in Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties. There are 107 federally recognized tribes in the State of California.


On November 26, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order establishing a Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. 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 facilitate a more seamless response to missing persons investigations. The first meeting of the Task Force was held earlier this year on January 29, 2020. On March 2, 2020, the Task Force announced a series of field consultations and listening sessions to occur across the United States this year.

DOJ Tribal Justice & Saftey banner

The Department of Justice maintains a website dedicated to Tribal Safety and Justice with helpful information.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office has an active outreach program to the District’s Native American communities. This outreach includes disseminating information on trainings and grant opportunities and coordinating with federal investigative agencies, sheriffs and district attorneys on issues affecting public safety and crime in Indian Country, including charging some cases in federal court.

As part of the U.S. Attorney Office’s ongoing outreach to Native American communities, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Sampson as the Tribal Liaison for the NDCA. The NDCA’s Tribal Liaison is responsible for outreach to tribal leaders in Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties. The NDCA’s Tribal Liaison also coordinates closely with the other Tribal Liaisons in districts that include Indian Country or one or more federally recognized tribes; with federal, state and tribal law enforcement partners; and with the Native American Issues Coordinator from the Executive Offices of the U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C.

Additionally, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson is a member of the Native American Issues Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, chaired by Northern District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. The Subcommittee focuses exclusively on Indian Country issues, both criminal and civil, and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. Attorney General regarding public safety and legal issues that impact tribal communities.

Federal Law Enforcement

In California, responsibility for the prosecution and investigation of federal crimes committed by or against Native Americans in Indian country generally resides with state and local officials. California is unique in that the entire state is governed by Public Law 280 (PL 280). Passed by Congress in 1953, PL 280 shifted most federal criminal jurisdiction over offenses committed on certain tribal lands to state prosecutors. See 18 U.S.C. 1162. At the time of its passage, PL 280 covered tribal lands (in whole or part) in five states: California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin.  Alaska was added after it attained statehood. As California is a PL 280 state, responsibility in California for the prosecution and investigation of crimes identified in the General Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 1152) and Major Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 1153) remains with state and local officials. However, in November 2017, the Hoopa Valley Reservation was granted concurrent federal jurisdiction, allowing certain serious crimes involving tribal offenders or victims to be charged federally. The NDCA’s Tribal Liaison works closely with the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police and other tribal police departments to assist where possible with law enforcement issues affecting tribes in the District.

Federal Grants

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the NDCA’s Tribal Liaison coordinate with and support California tribes in their applications for federal grants. In the last year, tribes in the NDCA recently received over $5 million in grants to enhance and support tribal justice and safety and assist the tribes’ crime prevention and law enforcement efforts, victim services and youth programs:


Grant and Source


Blue Lake Rancheria

Public Safety and Community Policing (COPS)


Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria

Justice Systems and Alcohol and Substance Abuse (BIA)


Hoopa Valley Tribe

Justice Systems and Alcohol and Substance Abuse (BIA)


Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program (OVW)

Tribal Victim Services Program (OVC)



Round Valley Indian Tribes

Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities (OVC)


Yurok Tribe

Public Safety and Community Policing (COPS)

Corrections and Correctional Alternatives (BIA)

Tribal Victim Services Program (OVC)

Addressing Violent Crime in Tribal Communities (BIA)








Additional information about the Department of Justice’s grant process, including the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) program, which the Department launched in direct response to concerns about grant process raised by tribal leaders, is available on the Department’s website.


To reach the NDCA's Tribal Liaison, please contact:

Colin Sampson
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Northern District of California
Tribal Liaison
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 11th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 436-7020

Updated March 26, 2020