WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led a roundtable discussion titled “Public Safety in Native Communities,” to hear from the Departments of the Interior and Justice (DOI and DOJ) and experts from Native communities on federal public safety policy and resources needs for Native communities.
Schatz opened the roundtable by recognizing Native communities’ public safety challenges and new federal resources to address those needs.
“The federal government’s systemic under-resourcing of public safety needs is just one barrier to building safe and healthy Native communities,” said Chairman Schatz. “A complex criminal jurisdictional scheme, and the U.S. government’s centuries-old failure to fulfill its trust obligations, contribute to the immense challenges Native communities face when it comes to keeping their citizens and community members safe. But with the recent reauthorization of VAWA, and enactment of the Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act, Native communities and their federal partners in DOI and DOJ have more tools and resources to improve how justice is served.”
Prior to the roundtable discussion, the Committee passed by voice vote:
- S.3381, the Tribal Trust Land Homeownership Act of 2021
- S.3773, a bill to authorize the leases of up to 99 years for land held in trust for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
- S.3789, a bill to amend the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act to authorize grants to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations, and for other purposes
The following panelists participated in the roundtable discussion:
- Tracy Canard Goodluck, Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
- Jason O’Neal, Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs – Office of Justice Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
- Robert E. Chapman, Acting Director, Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
- The Honorable Eugena Charles-Newton, Chairwoman, Law and Order Committee, Navajo Nation Council, Shiprock, NM
- Mark Kawika Patterson, Chair, Hawai‘i State Correctional Systems Oversight Commission and Administrator, Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, Honolulu, HI
- Michael Ford, Chief of Police, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Reno, NV
- Lucy Rain Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Lame Deer, MT
- Nikki Borchardt Campbell, Executive Director, National American Indian Court Judges Association, Boulder, CO
- Alex Cleghorn, Sr. Legal and Policy Director, Alaska Native Justice Center, Anchorage, AK