NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS

The National Congress of American Indians Resolution #ANC-07-045
TITLE: A Resolution Calling on Congress and the Attorney General to Address the Failure of Law Enforcement in Indian Country WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and WHEREAS, under the Major Crimes Act and federal law, Indian communities are completely dependent on the U.S. Attorneys offices for prosecution of violent crimes and all felonies on Indian reservations; and WHEREAS, despite the federal trust and treaty obligations to protect Indian communities, the violent crime rate on Indian reservations is two and a half times the national average. Indian women are victims of rape and sexual assault at three times the national average. Tribes are faced with an epidemic of drug trafficking in methamphetamines. And, it is estimated that the U.S. Attorneys decline to prosecute as many as 85% of the felony cases referred by tribal prosecutors; and WHEREAS, over the past five years the U.S. Attorneys on the Native American Issues Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Attorney General worked to increase prosecutions and address problems with violent crime and drug trafficking in Indian country; and WHEREAS, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Department of Justice are under scrutiny for the firing of U.S. Attorneys and the concern that these firings were motivated by political concerns; and WHEREAS, six of the members of the Native American Issues Subcommittee were among those who were replaced including both the former chair and vice-chairs Thomas Heffelfinger and Margaret Chiara; and

EXECU T IV E C OMM ITT EE P RESIDENT
Joe A. Garcia Ohkay Owingeh (Pueblo of San Juan)

F IRST

VICE - PRESIDENT

Jefferson Keel Chickasaw Nation

R ECORDING S ECRETARY
Juana Majel Pauma-Yuima Band of Mission Indians

T REASURER
W. Ron Allen Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

REG ION A L V IC E-PRESID ENT S ALASKA
Mike Williams Yupiaq

E ASTERN O KLAHOMA
Joe Grayson, Jr. Cherokee Nation

G REAT P LAINS
Mark Allen Flandreau Santee Sioux

M IDWEST
Robert Chicks Stockbridge-Munsee

N ORTHEAST
Randy Noka Narragansett

N ORTHWEST
Ernie Stensgar Coeur d’Alene Tribe

P ACIFIC
Cheryl Seidner Wiyot

R OCKY M OUNTAIN
Carl Venne Crow Tribe

S OUTHEAST
Leon Jacobs Lumbee Tribe

S OUTHERN P LAINS
Steve Johnson Absentee Shawnee

S OUTHWEST
Manuel Heart Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

W ESTERN
Kathleen Kitcheyan San Carlos Apache

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jacqueline Johnson Tlingit

NCAI HEADQUARTERS 1301 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 200 Washington, DC 20036 202.466.7767 202.466.7797 fax
www.ncai.org

NCAI 2007 Mid-Year Session

Resolution ANC-07-045

WHEREAS, Monica Goodling, former aide to Attorney General Gonzales, has stated in Congressional testimony that Thomas Heffelfinger was replaced because of he spent “too much time” on issues related the Native American Issues Subcommittee; and WHEREAS, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Margaret Chiara, former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton, and former U.S. Attorney for Nevada Dan Bogden have attended the NCAI Midyear session and discussed with tribal leaders their serious concerns that the Department of Justice central office places no priority on addressing crime in Indian country and is attempting to control the local prosecutorial decisions of the U.S. Attorneys from the central office in Washington, DC; and WHEREAS, U.S. Attorneys who are experienced prosecutors and are familiar with the law enforcement priorities of their districts are being replaced by people who are closely connected to the political leadership in Washington DC but have little or no prosecutorial experience; and WHEREAS, it appears that the removal of the U.S. Attorneys is intended to place political concerns above the needs of law enforcement and public safety on Indian reservations and throughout the United States; and NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; that NCAI calls upon the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the House Resources Committee and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to hold hearings soliciting testimony from the former and present U.S. Attorneys who are members of the Native American Issues Subcommittee, to request their views on criminal law enforcement in Indian country, and to investigate the unwillingness of the Department of Justice to protect the safety of Indian communities and the federal laws that prevent Indian tribal governments and tribal courts from prosecuting crimes on their own behalf; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that NCAI calls upon Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to meet with tribal leaders and NCAI leadership to hear our concerns about law enforcement and public safety and to develop an action plan to address the grossly disparate rates of violent crime in Indian country that are the responsibility of the Department of Justice; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that NCAI calls upon the President and the Department of Justice to institute the following reforms: • Reestablish the policy to respect the law enforcement priorities of the U.S. Attorneys districts, particularly those districts that contain Indian country • Elevate the Native American Issues Subcommittee to a seat on the Advisory Committee to the Attorney General • Return the Office of Tribal Justice to its former status with direct access to the Attorney General • Establish a policy that U.S. Attorneys will respond in writing to tribal referrals for prosecution, that those decisions will be available for numerical analysis, and that tribes can appeal directly to their district U.S. Attorney • Support tribal prosecution of domestic violence and drug crimes • Nominate Diane Humetewa to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona
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NCAI 2007 Mid-Year Session

Resolution ANC-07-045

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Establish a policy that the FBI will tape all confessions Establish a policy that the U.S. Attorney will consult with the Indian tribe before seeking the death penalty in any capital case

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that NCAI calls upon the Senate and House Appropriations Committees and Subcommittees to provide adequate and equitable resources to the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Indian Health Service to address the grossly disparate rates of violent crime, sexual violence and methamphetamine trafficking in Indian country including the needs in prosecution, investigation, policing, courts and corrections. CERTIFICATION The foregoing resolution was referred to the Executive Committee by the General Assembly at the 2007 64th Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians and adopted by the Executive Committee on June 27, 2007 with a quorum present.

President ATTEST:

Recording Secretary

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