Published On: Thu, Sep 23rd, 2010
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Tribe to receive $1.6M in DOJ Grants

Funding from new CTAS Program to help Law Enforcement and Justice Programs

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF

 The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians soon will be receiving major funding help with its law enforcement and justice programs.  The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday, Sept. 15 that it is awarding $127 million in grants to various tribes and the EBCI is slated to receive around $1.6 million in three grants under a new program designed to help tribal law enforcement and public safety programs nationwide. 
 

The Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) program was developed out of Tribal consultation events according to Associate Attorney General Perelli. 

“Today, we take another major step toward true nation-to-nation collaboration,” he said.  “CTAS is not only a more streamlined grant-making process, it is part of the department’s broader strategy of increased engagement with tribal communities across a broad range of areas.”

Cherokee Chief Justice Bill Boyum related that $375,130 has been awarded to the Cherokee Tribal Court to fund three projects including:  digitizing and shipping 66,000 files which are required to be stored in Kansas at the BIA document depository, fund the development of an electronic case management system, and provide training funding for all Court departments. 

On the first project, Boyum related, “These files will be scanned and entered into a database that will allow us to access them through our current computer system.  The Court will end up sending approximately 1,000 boxes of files to Kansas.” 

The second project will allow the Cherokee Court to purchase the ACIS electronic case management system.  “The ACIS system will allow the Court to electronically access all cases within the system and will automatically notify NCDMV of traffic convictions,” said Boyum.  “Additionally, it will allow the Cherokee Police Department to access eCitations, which automatically enters traffic tickets into the Court’s computer system and to access the NCAware system, which provides notifications of pending state-wide warrants.”

Boyum related that the training, provided for in the third project, will be utilized by the Probation Dept., clerks, magistrates and judges and will have an “emphasis on Federal Indian law.” 

Another grant totaling $478,496 has been received by the Tribe’s Juvenile Justice System.  “The grant will allow for system-wide training on evidence-based models (judges, juvenile services staff, school staff, and law enforcement), and it will allow for the development of a tribal specific, culturally-based service/model as well as gender specific services/programs,” said Hannah Smith, EBCI Legal Dept.  “Finally, it will allow for the resources to track and analyze the success or failure of certain services and programs in order to capitalize on what helps youth become stronger, more responsible young adults and what does not.” 

In addition to above-listed funding, the Tribe will also receive $750,000 from the Office of Violence Against Women to further its fight against domestic violence. 

CTAS grants fall into several categories including:  Tribal Resources Grant Program, Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Program, Tribal Courts Assistance Program, Correctional Facilities on Tribal Lands Program, Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program, Tribal Governments Program, Tribal Elder Outreach Program, Tribal Youth Program, and the Tribal Juvenile Accountability Discretionary Program. 

In other law enforcement news, data from tribal nations has been included in the 2009 FBI Uniform Crime Report.   According to the report, the Navajo Nation (Ariz.) reported the highest incidence of violent crimes at 905.  The FBI defines violent crimes as murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. 

Of the 905 violent crimes reported by the Navajo Nation, there were 15 murders, 374 rapes, 37 robberies and 479 aggravated assaults.

The EBCI only reported 34 violent crimes including 1 murder, 8 rapes, 3 robberies, and 22 aggravated assaults. 

Nearby tribes reported much higher incidences of violent crime than the Eastern Band.  The Seminole Tribe of Florida reported 110 (1 murder, 7 rapes, 34 robberies, 68 aggravated assaults) and the Mississippi Band of Choctaws reported 175 (1 murder, 7 rapes, 0 robberies, 167 aggravated assaults).

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