MUSKOGEE – On Tuesday, US attorneys Trent Shores from Northern District of Oklahoma and Brian Kuester from Eastern District of Oklahoma launched a pilot to implement a tribal community response plan with Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Cherokee Nation under Attorney General William P. Barr’s initiative for missing and murdered indigenous people.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation chief David Hill and Cherokee Nation chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. along with US attorneys made the announcement.
The Tribal Community Response Plan pilot is designed to establish a collaborative response from tribal governments, law enforcement, and other partners by implementing culturally appropriate guidelines when investigating emerging cases of missing and murdered Alaskan Indians and Natives. The US Department of Justice and other federal agencies worked with tribal leaders, law enforcement, and tribal communities to develop draft guidelines for developing a tribal community response plan.
Each plan consists of guidelines that address at least four different areas in response to MMIP cases: law enforcement, victim services, public relations, and media / public communications.
“Justice and Freedom for All” are not only the final words of our pledge of loyalty, they are at the heart and foundation of what the United States stands for. They create a standard that we must continuously strive for in order to preserve the critical principles they express, ”said Kuester. “Tribal community response plans will unite people, authorities and sovereigns who work for justice and freedom for all. Together we will identify and implement best practices to respond to and investigate cases of missing and murdered indigenous peoples. I look forward to building on the US Attorney’s close relationships with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Cherokee Nation, and our law enforcement partners as we move forward together. “
Oklahoma US attorneys are the first to launch the pilot. Five more US law firms are slated to do so at a later date. The lessons learned from the pilot will be used to improve draft guidelines for developing a tribal community response plan before being used in states across the country.
“Today’s new pilot program for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People is an important partnership with the United States Department of Justice and will pursue a goal we all share: protecting Cherokees on the reservation and bringing missing Cherokees home to their families and communities. ” said Hoskin. “If any of our Cherokee citizens are injured or missing, this 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. “
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Ministry of Justice. Learn more about the agency’s history at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.