Cherokee Nation gets $7.6M for public safety from DOJ
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation will receive more than $7.6 million in public safety grants from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a nationwide investment into Native communities, stated a Sept. 30 DOJ announcement.
U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said the funding is intended to improve public safety, serve victims of crime and support youth programs.
“The awards announced today underscore the Department of Justice’s deep commitment to improving public safety in tribal communities throughout the United States,” he said. “This administration will continue to work closely with our tribal partners to guarantee that they have the resources they need to combat violence and bring criminals to justice.”
In total, the DOJ awarded more than $295.8 million in grants across the country. The CN’s portion will help the tribe address public safety-related needs associated with the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling that favored a Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen who claimed state courts had no authority to try him for a crime committed on reservation land.
The court’s determination that tribal nations in Oklahoma “were never diminished,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., will impact other members of the Five Tribes – the Muscogee (Creek), Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations.
“Over the course of the next year, there’s going to be a great deal of activity from the Five Tribes stemming from the McGirt decision and court cases dismissed at the state level and refiled in tribal and federal courts,” he said. “The Cherokee Nation is grateful for these Department of Justice resources and will be putting these funds into the expansion of our courts, law enforcement, attorney general’s office and victim services programs as we’ll need to be prepared, and we will be prepared for the new challenges ahead.”
According to the CN, the DOJ funds will support victim services ($2.99 million), as well as tribal justice infrastructure, public safety and community policing ($2.7 million).
Another $2 million in funding over three years will enable the tribe to hire additional prosecutors to handle cases both in tribal and federal court.
Of the DOJ’s $295.8 million in awards, $103 million came via the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation program.
“Public safety officials and victim service providers in Indian country face exceptional challenges, but they bring to their work an extraordinary array of skills and resources that enable them to meet and overcome any obstacle,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Office of Justice Programs principal deputy assistant attorney general.