Law & Order in Indian Country

The Green Bay Press Gazette writes today about criminal law issues in Indian Country and President Obama signing the Tribal Law and Order Act in July 2010.

The paper quoted some of the statistics the President recounted that led Congress to enact the law. “It is unconscionable that crime rates in Indian Country are more than twice the national average and up to 20 times the national average on some reservations,” Obama said in bolstering the case for the legislation. “And all of you believe, like I do, that when one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes, that is an assault on our national conscience; it is an affront to our shared humanity; it is something that we cannot allow to continue.”

These facts reflect the harsh reality that faces many of the 565+ tribes and Alaska Native communities across the country

The federal government also reports many other statistics that further demonstrate the issues facing Indian Country and tribal governments and communities. For example, American Indians lead the nation in suicides among youth aged 15 to 24.

Injuries and violence account for 75% of all deaths among Native Americans ages 1 to 19. Native American women suffer from violent crimes at a rate 3½ times greater than the national average.

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