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Public Safety in Indian Country

The District of New Mexico is fortunate to be home to a substantial Native American presence. The District of New Mexico, which is contiguous with the State of New Mexico, is home to 22 Native American communities- nineteen pueblos: Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Kewa, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Taos, Tesuque, Zuni and Zia; two Apache tribes:  Jicarilla and Mescalero; and the Navajo Nation.

Crimes committed in Indian Country falling within the General Crimes Act- 18 U.S.C. § 1152, the Major Crimes Act- 18 U.S.C. § 1153, as well as federal crimes of general applicability are the responsibility of the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute. 18 U.S.C. § 1151 defines “Indian country” as (a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the reservation, (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state, and (c) all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same. The USAO-NM’s highest priorities with respect to Indian Country are the prosecution of violent crime and the reduction of violence against women and children.

Pursuant to the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008, the USAO-NM has adopted an Operations Plan for Public Safety in Indian Country (“Operations Plan”) which is updated yearly. The Operations Plan is premised upon respect for tribal sovereignty and recognition of the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the tribes and pueblos within the District of New Mexico.

Updated March 4, 2024