This video clip (AG #1) is a selected highlight of the Attorney General Eric Holder’s Speech at the 12th National Indian Nations Conference.
A second video clip (AG #2) of the speech and related transcripts are also available.
[Start of video clip.]
[Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., appears on stage after introductions by Mary Lou Leary. Standing behind a podium, the Attorney General addresses attendees at the 12th National Indian Nations Conference.]
Thank you so much, Mary Lou Leary. I am grateful for your service to the department, for your leadership in the Office of Justice Programs, and for your many efforts to strengthen tribal communities.
The roots of this conference stretch back more than two decades. In 1988, the Office for Victims of Crime organized the very first National Indian Nations Conference. Passage of the historic 1994 crime bill was still half a dozen years away. The Violence Against Women Act had not yet become law. The Office on Violence Against Women—that Sue Carbon now leads—had not been established. And one of the key authors of the Tribal Law and Order Act wasn’t even old enough to vote. It’s been a while.
But thanks to several of the people in this room and to your predecessors in this work, a critical, nationwide conversation began. Year after year, it has continued and it has expanded, bringing together law enforcement officers, community leaders, and elected officials; tribal youth and tribal elders; lawyers and judges; policy experts and health and social services providers; and representatives from federal, state, local, and tribal governments.
Together, you have worked to bring tribal justice issues to light. You have forged and you have reinforced essential partnerships. You have raised awareness about the unique public safety challenges facing tribal communities, and the startling, startling and wholly unacceptable rates of violence against Indian women and children. And I want to say that again—wholly, wholly unacceptable. You have shared best practices and effective strategies and promoted comprehensive, evidence-based solutions. You have demanded that tribal issues be at the forefront of national-level discussions. And you have reminded tribal, local, state, and federal leaders that we must never overlook the critical needs of victims.
This year, more than a third of the attendees at this conference are indeed crime victims—survivors like Robin Charboneau—who have channeled pain into a positive force and found their callings in assisting and advocating for other victims. This work is not easy but it is critically important. Not only do victim advocates and victim services providers help to restore hope, your efforts are often critical in the work of administering justice. You empower victims to work with law enforcement to hold offenders accountable. You educate the medical and legal communities about victim needs and challenges. And you remind us that our continued vigilance in safeguarding tribal communities is absolutely essential.
[End of video clip.]
Related Conference Video Clips and Transcripts: