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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

EXECU T IV E C OMM ITT EE of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and
Joe A. Garcia
purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent
Ohkay Owingeh
(Pueblo of San Juan)
sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and
F IRST VICE - PRESIDENT agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are
Jefferson Keel
Chickasaw Nation
entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public
R ECORDING S ECRETARY toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values,
Juana Majel
Pauma-Yuima Band of Mission Indians and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby
T REASURER establish and submit the following resolution; and
W. Ron Allen
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe


WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was
established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American
Mike Williams
Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
Joe Grayson, Jr.
Cherokee Nation
WHEREAS, under the Major Crimes Act and federal law, Indian communities
G REAT P LAINS are completely dependent on the U.S. Attorneys offices for prosecution of violent
Mark Allen
Flandreau Santee Sioux
crimes and all felonies on Indian reservations; and
Robert Chicks
WHEREAS, despite the federal trust and treaty obligations to protect Indian
N ORTHEAST communities, the violent crime rate on Indian reservations is two and a half times the
Randy Noka
Narragansett national average. Indian women are victims of rape and sexual assault at three times
N ORTHWEST the national average. Tribes are faced with an epidemic of drug trafficking in
Ernie Stensgar
Coeur d’Alene Tribe methamphetamines. And, it is estimated that the U.S. Attorneys decline to prosecute
P ACIFIC as many as 85% of the felony cases referred by tribal prosecutors; and
Cheryl Seidner

R OCKY M OUNTAIN WHEREAS, over the past five years the U.S. Attorneys on the Native
Carl Venne
Crow Tribe American Issues Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Attorney General
S OUTHEAST worked to increase prosecutions and address problems with violent crime and drug
Leon Jacobs
Lumbee Tribe trafficking in Indian country; and
Steve Johnson
Absentee Shawnee WHEREAS, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Department of
Manuel Heart
Justice are under scrutiny for the firing of U.S. Attorneys and the concern that these
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe firings were motivated by political concerns; and
Kathleen Kitcheyan
San Carlos Apache WHEREAS, six of the members of the Native American Issues Subcommittee
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR were among those who were replaced including both the former chair and vice-chairs
Jacqueline Johnson
Tlingit Thomas Heffelfinger and Margaret Chiara; and
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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;

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

• 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.


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.


Recording Secretary

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