Statement by the President on the First Anniversary of the Tribal Law and Order Act

July 29, 2011

A year ago today, I was proud to sign the Tribal Law and Order Act into law.   American Indians and Alaska Natives have long been victimized by violent crime at far higher rates than the rest of the country, and the Tribal Law and Order Act is already helping us better address the unique public safety challenges that confront tribal communities.  Over the past year, tribes have gained greater sentencing authority.  The rights of defendants are stronger.  Services for victims are better.  We’re working together to combat alcohol and drug abuse, and to help at-risk youth in more effective ways.  We’ve established new guidelines and training for officers handling domestic violence and sex crimes.  And we’ve expanded recruitment and retention of Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal officers, and given them better access to the criminal databases they need to keep people safe.  These are important steps in addressing serious issues.  And as long as I am President, we will continue to strengthen and fortify our government-to-government relationship with Indian Country.