Letter: Law and order needed for tribal leaders
"The recent bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan, chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, seems to have some teeth and could have an impact on American Indian reservations across the country.

While supporting senators keep pushing the bill forward for quick action, I question how much of the legislation will have an effect on our elected tribal officials. Here at Turtle Mountain, the land of 30,000-plus enrolled members, some of us are not convinced that the bill introduced says enough about how tribal government officials will be prosecuted if a crime is committed by them.

Reports of crimes committed by elected tribal officials in past years seemed to have fallen on deaf ears and/or tribal politics may have played a role. Allegations of sexual assault and other related crimes have went unprosecuted, and till this day, individuals who have allegedly committed these crimes have not been charged.

The bill introduced, according to Dorgan, should make the Indian community feel much safer at home and in their communities.

The legislation presented should be directed towards our tribal leadership also, and it should be worded that way. Tribal members like myself will fully support the new bill if changes on the wording addressed our concern."

Get the Story:
Delvin Cree: Bill needs to take on tribal officials (The Bismarck Tribune 8/3)

S.3320, Tribal Law and Order Act:
Sen. Dorgan on Senate Floor | Text of Bill

Relevant Documents:
Sen. Dorgan Statement | Sen. Biden Statement | Sen. Baucus/Sen. Tester Statement | Sen. Johnson Statement | Sen. Thune Statement

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