Justice reform slow to come to Indian Country

Retired Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado) said he tried for years to educate his colleagues about law enforcement, public safety and justice in Indian Country.

But Campbell, the former chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said the effort was fruitless. He said lawmakers are reluctant to give tribes more powers to enforce justice on reservations.

"I tried over and over," Campbell told The Denver Post. "But it goes back to old prejudices. 'I don't trust those Indians. I'm not going to let them try me.'"

Even non-controversial efforts have had limited success. During the Clinton administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs sought to double funding for reservation aw enforcement programs but Congress failed to appropriate sufficient resources.

"For a lot of (lawmakers), it's out of sight, out of mind - it's-not-my-problem sort of thing," said Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), whose recent amendment to provide U.S. Attorneys with $20 million for reservation prosecution failed.

Get the Story:
Path to justice unclear (The Denver Post 11/14)
Program born in Colo. becomes national model (The Denver Post 11/14)

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