U.S. Senate Committee Leads Hearing on Public Safety in Native Communities

Indian Affairs Native Public Safety Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Committee, led an oversight hearing entitled, “Examining Public Safety & Justice Resources in Native Communities.”

“One of our fundamental trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations is protecting the public safety on their lands,” said Chairman Schatz. “This oversight hearing has been purposefully informed by priorities that tribal leaders and Native stakeholders uplifted in our listening session and legislative hearing. The United States must do everything it can to live up to the trust and treaty responsibility to protect the public safety of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”

“I am grateful that the safety of Native families, children, and communities is one of the issues that attracts bipartisan support,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “I am honored to have worked with Native leaders in Alaska and across the nation over multiple Congresses on these issues of public safety. This Committee has been a great forum for both shedding light on the need to improve public safety and justice in Native communities and taking concrete steps to address the problem. We saw that through passage of VAWA 2022, which included the Tribal Title we authored. My thanks to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Alaska Native Justice Center, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and so many other powerful advocates who have partnered with us on solutions. Through listening to tribal leaders and advocates, we have learned how a lack of resources combined with jurisdictional complexities have contributed to a crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people and a disproportionately high rate of victimization.”

The following witnesses participated in the oversight hearing:

  • Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland – Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Commissioner Patrice Kunesh, Administration for Native Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Allison Randall, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice