Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Meets with Tribal Leaders
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today visited with Michigan’s tribal leaders to discuss the importance of a sustained commitment to cooperation among tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies. At an event hosted by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Attorney General participated in a roundtable discussion that focused on the challenges each tribe faces, their law enforcement successes, and identifying ways that the Justice Department can better assist tribes in enforcing the law.
In addition, the Attorney General announced new Department of Justice grant awards totaling more than $3 million while meeting with tribal leaders to underscore the Department’s commitment to fighting crime in tribal regions. The awards, administered through the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), will primarily be used for crime prevention efforts, increased resources for law enforcement, and improvements to victim assistance services in tribal regions in Michigan.
“The Department of Justice is committed to improving law enforcement and criminal justice in Indian Country, and to ensuring that federally recognized tribes are full partners in this effort,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “These funds further this commitment and respond to specific needs of tribal communities.”
The awards announced today include more than $2 million in grants from OVW, which will be distributed to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Hannahville Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Saginaw Chippewa Indians, and the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribe Women’s Advisory Committee. These funds are aimed at decreasing the incidence of violent crime against Indian women, providing legal and housing assistance to Indian women, strengthening the capacity of Indian tribes to exercise sovereign authority to respond to violent crimes committed against Indian women, and to ensure that perpetrators of violent crimes committed against Indian women are held accountable for their criminal behavior.
New COPS grants announced today totaled more than $500,000, and were part of the office’s Tribal Resource Grants Program. These funds are aimed at supporting tribal law enforcement agencies with the purchase of equipment, technology and training. The funds include grants to Michigan tribes Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Natural Resources, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa, Hannahville Indian Community, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Police Department.
OJP grants totaling more than $435,000 will go to the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Hannahville Indian Community to support the development, implementation, enhancement, and continuing operation of tribal courts; and to the Bay Mills Indian Community and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for improving the ability of these communities to provide direct services to victims of violent crimes such as child abuse, sexual assault, homicide, elder abuse, Driving While Intoxicated, and gang violence.
The Department of Justice recognizes the challenges facing Indian Country and is committed to working with the tribes, state and local law enforcement, the Department of the Interior, and others to improve the lives of those living in tribal regions. Over the past several years, the Department has invested significant resources to combat crime and violence in tribal regions across the country. These efforts draw on numerous components, including the FBI, ATF, DEA; U.S. Attorneys Offices, the Office of Tribal Justice, the Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division, the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Relations Services, and the Environment and Natural Resources Division. More information on the Department’s funding, training, and crime prevention efforts in tribal regions is available at http://www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov.
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