TULSA, Oklahoma. – Muscogee Nation (Creek) and Cherokee Nation announced Monday a pilot project to implement a Tribal Community Response Plan with U.S. attorneys Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Brian Kuester of the Eastern District of L ‘Oklahoma.
The pilot project is in line with the United States Department of Justice’s National Strategy to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, which was launched on November 22, 2019.
Senior Chief David Hill of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. of the Cherokee Nation joined US lawyers in making the announcement.
The goal of the Tribal Community Response Plan pilot is to establish a collaborative response from tribal governments, law enforcement agencies and other partners by implementing culturally appropriate guidelines when investigating cases. emerging and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
American lawyers in Oklahoma are the first to launch the pilot project. Five more US law firms are expected to do so at later dates. Lessons learned from the pilot project will be used to improve draft guides for developing a tribal community response plan before they are used in states across the country.
According to a report by the Urban Indian Health Institute that identified 506 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women in 71 urban cities, including Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma has the tenth highest number of women and girls Indigenous people missing and murdered at 18. due to the lack of complete and rural data available, the actual figures are likely to be higher.
“We are undoubtedly at our best when we partner with agencies and tribes who are working towards our common goal of improving public safety and the protection of those who need it most,” said the chief. Principal Hill. âSadly, we know all too well the challenges we face and the trends we need to reverse regarding missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. We believe these types of collaborations, in which our input is sought and used to develop culture-specific guidelines, are the best way forward and we can’t wait to get started.
Senior Chief Hoskin said the new Pilot Program for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People is an important partnership with the US Department of Justice and the tribes.
“This pilot project will advance a goal we all share: to protect the Cherokees on the reserve and bring the missing Cherokees home to their families and communities,” Hoskin said. âWhen one of our Cherokee citizens is injured or missing, it is an emergency. And now, this pilot program will help pool our focus and resources on these cases with immediate, coordinated and professional response plans. “
According to US prosecutor Trent Shores, with the pilot project, the Department of Justice is giving more priority to public safety in the Indian country.
âThe first step in securing justice for the missing and murdered Native Americans was to recognize the injustice of any historical indifference or neglect of these tragic cases. Now is the time to act to tackle this crisis head-on, âsaid Shores. âI am proud to partner with the Muscogee Nation (Creek) and the Cherokee Nation to announce the first such pilot project to develop and implement community protocols and action plans for cases of disappearance and murder of Indigenous people.
U.S. Attorney Kuester said the tribal community response plans would unite people, agencies and rulers committed to justice and freedom for all.
âTogether, we will identify and implement best practices to respond to and investigate cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people,â said Kuester.
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