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» Do Congress and Obama Really Support the Tribal Law and Order Act?
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Quahna Parker
Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:33 am by Admin

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Native American Wedding Bands
Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:10 am by Admin
Native American Wedding Bands
Tribal customs are diverse and highly spiritual.

Native American wedding bands are rich in spiritual and cultural symbolism and make lovely symbols of a couple's love for one another.
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Because Native American tribes did not typically smelt metal for jewelry, wedding rings are not an ancient custom for many native peoples. On the other hand, …

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Quahna Parker Facts
Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:44 am by Admin
Birth: unknown
Death: Feb. 23, 1911

American Folk Figure. He is often referred to as the last Chief of the
Comanches, but the truth of the matter is that the Comanche people never
elected him as a chief. In fact there was no such thing as Chief of the
Comanches. Each band of Comanches had their own chief. After the
surrender of the Comanche …

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Quahna Parker
Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:25 am by Admin

CEDAR LAKEOR LAGUNA SABINAS. Largest Alkali Lake on Plains; old Indian camp and burial site; birthplace of Quanah Parker.
A skirmish between Indians and United States Cavalry under command of
Lieutenant John L. Bullis took place here in October, 1875.


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 Do Congress and Obama Really Support the Tribal Law and Order Act?

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Posts : 42
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Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: Do Congress and Obama Really Support the Tribal Law and Order Act?   Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:10 am

WASHINGTON – If there’s one issue that every politician agrees with
on Indian issues in Washington, it’s that tribal justice and safety
needs to be strengthened. But when Congress members had a very real
opportunity to put the money where their mouths are this year, they
passed the buck—and the Obama administration let them do it.

To great fanfare in July 2010, President Barack Obama signed the
Tribal Law and Order Act, a law meant to combat the crisis of crime
facing many reservations today. According to federal statistics that
Obama himself cited, Indian women suffer the highest rate of violent
crime of any demographic in the United States with 1 out of every 3
Indian women raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Overall,
Indians are the least safe people in all the country.

“There continues to be a public safety crisis on our Indian
reservations, and the lives of women and children are in danger every
day,” lamented the now retired Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who led the
way for passage of the TLOA when he headed the U.S. Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs.

That reality is one reason that Dorgan and many advocates in Indian
country were so disappointed to learn that Congress, last month, majorly
undercut the abilities of the TLOA to combat the crisis when it passed a
measure that shortchanged a whopping $90 million in proposed funding
for U.S. Department of Justice programs in Indian country.

“One way the TLOA sought to remedy the epidemic was to mandate that
federal law enforcement cooperate and coordinate with tribal law
enforcement,” wrote Ryan Dreveskracht, a lawyer with the Galanda
Broadman Indian-focused law firm, in an article posted on his firm’s
website. “The TLOA sought to immediately increase tribal law
enforcement funding levels. Because Indian country crime is local,
these consultation and tribal funding mandates were deemed crucial to
the effectiveness of the TLOA.”

But when Congress released its fiscal year 2012 Agriculture, Rural
Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Programs
Report on November 14, it was as if those components of the TLOA, which
so many Congress members had hailed so recently, didn’t matter.

The legislation offered funding cuts for tribal justice programs
across the board, and it did not include a tribal set-aside for
discretionary Office of Justice Programs needed to implement the TLOA,
Dreveskracht noted. It also proposed $15 million cuts to both the COPS
Tribal Resources Grant Program and the Tribal Youth Program. Funding for
tribal assistance within Office of Justice programs, meanwhile,
received $38 million, which Dreveskracht noted was $62 million short of
the approximately $100 million initially proposed in Obama’s FY 2012
budget request. In total, over $90 million was lost.

Surely, there must have been a mistake.

No, said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., it’s time to, “…face reality, and
the reality is that America is at a crossroads. For every dollar we
spend, 42 cents has to be borrowed. The gross national debt is now 97
percent of GDP and we are rapidly becoming the next Greece, Spain, or
Portugal. Internationally, this weakens our standing as a global leader
and our lenders, such as China, may seek to restructure our debt if we
don’t take care of it ourselves. Domestically, it hurts job creation,
smothers the private sector and erodes some of our basic personal

Kingston didn’t mention that fearing for one’s life all the time doesn’t do much to support job creation.

Some in Indian country thought that Obama, given his strong support
of the TLOA, would ask for changes to the legislation on tribal justice
issues specifically. But this did not happen. Instead, Obama signed H.R.
2112 into law just four days after it was introduced, as Public Law

The Obama administration does deserve credit in that the president in
his own budget request asked for much more money in this area – and his
Justice Department continues to work hard to increase the prosecution
of violent crimes on Indian lands – but still he didn’t fight against
the congressional cuts. And more cuts are likely to be proposed in
coming years.

It was disappointing, to say the least. “[U]ntil Congress adequately
funds the programs authorized in the Tribal Law and Order Act it will be
difficult for Indian communities to achieve the level of safety that so
many Americans enjoy,” Dorgan said.

“Unlike other areas of government spending, the federal government
has a distinct legal, treaty, and trust obligation to provide for the
public safety of Indian country,” Dreveskracht noted in an interview.
“This obligation was made explicit in section 202 of the TLOA and was
thoroughly discussed in the congressional record.

“That that same Congress is absolutely ignoring those duties now
makes it that much worse. As a result, people are literally dying,”
Dreveskracht added. “While crime outside Indian reservations has
declined in recent years, the violent crime rate in Indian country has
increased dramatically over the same time period—with homicides
increasing by 14 percent in just four years.”

One of the biggest secrets of the TLOA, according to Dreveskracht, is
that even though it forced Congress, the Obama administration, and even
the American public to look at the problem—it really accomplishes
nothing on its own that really changes the situation.

“The TLOA preserves the status quo in that it bestows the
responsibility of policing tribal communities in federal police forces
and prosecutors who have proven themselves incapable and uninterested in
putting an end to reservation crime,” Dreveskracht said. “Tribal
governments are still stripped of the inherent sovereign authority to
protect their citizens.”

Dreveskracht said this is why, when judging the potential
effectiveness of the TLOA, it becomes especially important to separate
the various programs that the law set out to implement. “While some of
the TLOA programs are meant to strengthen federal justice programs that will never work, others are meant to strengthen tribal justice
programs that will,” he said. “Unfortunately, and probably not
coincidentally, the FY 2012 cuts will affect some of the only provisions
of the TLOA that support the strengthening of tribal justice programs:
funding for the establishment and reinforcement of tribal court systems;
funding for tribal police force hiring and training; and funding for
tribes to develop culturally appropriate prevention and intervention
strategies for tribal youth.

“Put short, the FY 2012 cuts decimate some of the only redeeming
aspects of the TLOA,” Dreveskracht continued. “I don’t have much hope
that the TLOA can be effective at all without funding for this
component. In fact, just the opposite—continuing to fund TLOA components
that do nothing but perpetuate the already broken system will likely
cause more harm than good.”
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