Patrice Kunesh: Action needed on Tribal Law and Order Act
"Native Americans are victims of violent crimes at more than twice the national rate. Native American women suffer the highest rate of victimization than any other group in the United States. Almost 40 percent will suffer from domestic violence, and more than one-third will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. More ominously, native teens have the highest suicide rate of any group in the nation. This is a human crisis not of lost years but of lost generations.

Overshadowing the grim conditions of reservation life is a confusing maze of criminal laws. Three sovereigns - tribal, federal and state - share authority on Native American reservations. Yet wide gaps in law enforcement responsibilities and lack of coordination and money among enforcement agencies result in many crimes not being reported, investigated or prosecuted.

Congress no longer can ignore the dangerous conditions festering throughout Indian Country. It must heed its treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American people and help them to find a way back from the edge of chaos. To do this, Congress must secure swift passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act.

Consider the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, comparable in size to the state of Connecticut. More than 8,000 people, Native Americans and non-Native Americans live on the reservation, yet only 11 tribal police officers patrol the entire territory."

Get the Story:
Patrice H. Kunesh: Act will make Indian reservations safer (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/10)

Tribal Law and Order Act:
S.797 | H.R.1924

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