Responding to the Tribal Recommendations at the Tribal Nations Listening Session
November 2nd, 2009
Last week, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli delivered remarks at the Department of Justice’s Tribal Nations Listening Session in St. Paul, Minnesota, going through a list of the tribal community’s top recommendations – to both the Obama transition team and the Department of Justice – and discussed the status of each. In his remarks, the Associate explained:
From the time I announced the Listening Session, I have heard one message from tribal leaders – listening is fine, but we have talked enough, some one needs to take action. We intend to do that… I want to talk a little about what we are doing – so that you know that this is not just talk. And to do that, I thought I would start with some of the immediate recommendations that I know were circulated to many of you and that are a list of things that you have been advocating for from the Department of Justice and have either received no response or an unwelcome one.The Associate Attorney General also focused his remarks on how tribal communities can better partner with the federal government to make real and sustained change:
Tribal communities are facing great challenges, and have enormous opportunities. And while we at the Department of Justice have some resources that can help make your communities safer, we also know that it takes more than resources to fight and prevent crime. It takes all of us working together. None of these efforts will succeed if we do not direct them properly and at the issues that matter. We need to do this right, and we are going to need your help. This initiative will only change the way we do business if we come out of it with concrete, specific proposals and take action.After hearing from the Associate Attorney General, the nearly 400 tribal representatives broke up into groups focused on tribal priorities including support for tribal justice programs, violence against women and specific programs for Native teens, to present new ideas to the Attorney General during the second half of the day.
The Listening Session, which took place over two days, allowed tribal leaders and Department of Justice leadership to brainstorm and discuss how best to address the chronic problems of public safety in Indian Country.