FANTASTIC NEWS for the officially-recognized indigenous of this nation, who still suffer so much assault, degradation and lack of public interest. Although making tribes foot the bill for this seems skeezy. Still, it is definitely progress.
WASHINGTON – A major piece of legislation dealing with Indian country justice issues has made it through Congress, and President Barack Obama will sign it into law. Some tribes are expected to foot a greater bill involving tribal courts due to the changes.
The Tribal Law and Order Act cleared the House July 21 by a vote of 326-92, and had previously passed the Senate in late June. In both chambers, it was attached to the Indian Arts and Crafts bill, which strengthens the ability to prosecute those who unlawfully sell purported Indian goods.
The legislation, which bolsters justice resources for reservations in a number of areas, was supported by key Democrats and Republicans, who said they wanted to reduce crime on reservations.
Obama issued a statement upon its passage, saying the bill was an “important step to help the federal government better address the unique public safety challenges that confront tribal communities.”
The president noted that American Indians and Alaska Natives are victimized by violent crime at far higher rates than Americans as a whole, and some Native communities have seen increased gang and drug activity, with some tribes experiencing violent crime rates at more than 10 times the national average.
“The federal government’s relationship with tribal governments, its obligations under treaty and law, and our values as a nation require that we do more to improve public safety in tribal communities,” Obama said. “And this act will help us achieve that. It will strengthen the relationship between the federal government and tribal governments. It will improve our ability to work with tribal communities in the investigation and prosecution of crime, and it authorizes resources for tribes to fight crime more effectively.”