Attorney General's Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues Meets to Discuss Violent Crime in Indian Country
WASHINGTON— Attorney General William P. Barr’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues (NAIS) convened this week during the U.S. Attorney’s National Conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss a wide range of justice issues affecting Indian Country, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, Subcommittee Chair, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme, Subcommittee Vice Chair and U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams, Subcommittee Member.
“The Native American Issues Subcommittee is focused on reducing violent crime against women and children in Indian Country, including missing and murdered indigenous persons,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “I am thankful for Attorney General Barr’s leadership on these issues. He understands the law enforcement and jurisdictional challenges faced by Native Americans and Alaska Natives. We look forward to working with him and with our federal, tribal, state and local partners to find viable solutions that will improve public safety in Indian country.”
“Pursuing justice on behalf of native women is a priority for our office and has been for many years. We are deeply committed to the advancing rights of native women, increasing their access to justice, and combatting invisibility and erasure” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Reducing violence in tribal communities, especially against native women, is a sacred duty. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues from the Native American Issues Subcommittee on this issue and many others affecting public safety in Indian Country.”
On Tuesday, the NAIS met with Tara Katuk Mac Lean Sweeney, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, and discussed cross-agency collaboration in order to provide more responsive and effective justice services to Indian Country. They further discussed Indian Country case investigations, case intake and tracking databases, and tribal law enforcement resource allocation. The NAIS also reviewed President Trump’s priorities for Indian Country justice. Those priorities include protecting Native American children in the Indian Health Services system, collaboration among Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and tribal law enforcement agencies, reducing violent crime, and providing services to help victims to overcome trauma.
On Wednesday, Trent Shores, NAIS Chair and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, moderated a panel titled Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: A Crisis in Urban America & Indian Country. Panelists included Charles Addington, Director of the Office of Justice Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Kurt Alme, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana; Tracy Toulou, Director of the Office of Tribal Justice; Laura Rogers, Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women; and Bryan Vorndran, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI. The panel discussed the development and implementation of protocols to investigate murdered and missing indigenous persons and how to more accurately measure the scope of the problem in both urban America and Indian Country in order to develop strategies to address it.
In August, the subcommittee is scheduled to reconvene in Indian Country in New Mexico.
The NAIS consists of the approximately 53 U.S. Attorneys serving in districts that include Indian Country or one or more federally recognized tribes. The NAIS focuses exclusively on Indian Country issues, both criminal and civil, and makes policy recommendations to the Attorney General regarding public safety and legal issues that impact tribal communities.
The NAIS is the longest standing subcommittee to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and helps develop, shape, and otherwise implement justice policies affecting Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The NAIS has identified four priority areas: 1) Violent crime 2) Law enforcement resources 3) Drug trafficking and substance abuse, and 4) White collar crime.