Justice Department Awards $5.7 M to Support Native American Crime Victims in Seven States
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
Two Tribes Receive $1.28 Million in Northern District of Oklahoma
TULSA, Okla. – U.S. Attorney Trent Shores and The Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crimes announced this week that two northeastern Oklahoma tribes were awarded more than $1.28 million to support crime victims.
The two tribes in the Northern District of Oklahoma that received funding are the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and Wyandotte Nation.
The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma received $704, 949 to hire a crime victim advocate and to develop a cultural outreach program for those affected by violence. The funding will also help improve transportation for crime victims and provide emergency shelter services and counseling services.
The Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma was awarded $579,596 to expand services to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, dating violence and human trafficking by hiring a victim advocate. The award will also fund transportation to reach survivors in remote areas and provide legal and mental health services to those impacted by crime.
Nationwide, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded more than $5.7 million to support crime victims in Native American communities in seven states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin. The group of 10 awards is the second in a series of grants being made by OVC to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. OVC has now awarded more than $9 million of up to $100 million to support tribal victim service programs.
The awards—17 in total so far—will fund critical crime victim services, such as counseling, transitional housing, emergency services and transportation. The grants are supported by the Crime Victims Fund, a repository of federal criminal fines, fees and special assessments. The fund includes zero tax dollars.
“American Indian and Alaska Native communities face extensive public safety challenges, but through creative approaches that combine traditional methods with innovative solutions, they are demonstrating their determination to meet the needs of victims in their communities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth. “These grants, part of historic levels of funding awarded by the Department of Justice to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, will provide significant resources to bring critical services to those who suffer the effects of crime and violence.”
“From domestic violence to sexual assaults, the sad fact is that Native Americans are overrepresented as victims of violent crime, particularly women and children. The Justice Department is committed to changing this alarming statistic. We must give voice to victims of violent crime in Indian Country, especially those who are murdered or missing,” said Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues. “The more than $5.7 million in grant funding reflects the Justice Department’s strong commitment to partnering with Native American communities to identify key services needed to support victims of violent crime. In my district, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and Wyandotte Nation have been selected to receive more than $1.28 million in grants. It is important to facilitate the creation of victim advocate positions in tribal communities. Victim advocates are key to providing resources and support to victims who have suffered unspeakable crimes.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, American Indians and Alaska Natives experience violent crime at rates far greater than the general population.
The following eight tribes also received grant awards this week. Nearly 170 tribes are eligible to receive this funding this spring to help their communities support crime victims over the next three years:
• The Chickasaw Nation (Oklahoma) was awarded $628,737 to improve victim services by hiring additional staff and enhancing training, while also providing much-needed transportation for crime victims.
• Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Wisconsin) received $671,543 to enhance current victim services by providing transitional housing, transportation and security to victims, particularly those affected by the drug epidemic. The funds will also enable the tribe to hire victim advocacy staff for child abuse victims and expand office space to house Indian Child Welfare staff plus a victim interview room.
• The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Minnesota) was awarded $719,962 to hire victim services staff who specialize in serving children, youth and families affected by crime. The funding will also provide transportation and emergency services for crime victims, and expand community outreach and awareness.
• Nenana Native Association (Alaska) received $251,912 to increase the capacity of its existing victim services program by hiring a victim services coordinator and to improve training for the staff. Funds will also support travel for victims to access necessary services locally and in Fairbanks.
• The Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation (Washington) was awarded $679,259 to expand the tribe’s victim assistance program to serve human trafficking victims, and develop a strategic plan to improve services to victims. The funding will also support the hiring of a victim advocate, as well as travel and training costs for staff.
• Skokomish Indian Tribe (Washington) was awarded $446,234 to expand its elder abuse program by hiring a victim advocate to focus on adult protective services. The funds will also support staff training, provide essential transportation and help purchase project-related supplies.
• Southern Indian Health Council, Inc. (California) was awarded $720,000 to improve services for child abuse victims by providing intervention, support and education. The funding will enable the tribe to hire a social worker and other staff, improve transportation for victims and cover the costs of training and program supplies.
• Southern Ute Indian Tribe (Colorado) received $391,425 to enhance staff training and improve forensic interviews with child abuse victims, while also offering trauma-informed clinical therapeutic services for crime victims. In addition, the funding will provide essential supplies and new equipment for forensic medical services.
“American Indian and Alaska Native crime victims continue to face challenges in accessing vital services and resources needed to help survivors address their trauma and navigate a complex system,” said OVC Director Darlene Hutchinson. “The Justice Department has made it a priority to partner with tribes to help victims and their families rebuild their lives in the aftermath of violence.”
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership, grants and resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal justice system. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov
Updated March 21, 2019
Indian Country Law and Justice