This video clip (Hawk #1) is a selected highlight of the closing keynote address delivered on December 11 by Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
A second video clip (Hawk #2) of the speech and related transcripts are also available.
[Start of video clip.]
[Larry Echo Hawk speaking on stage at the 12th National Indian Nations Conference.]
Now let me briefly touch upon a few things that this administration is doing. What we have to do is convince what’s called the Office of Management [OMB] and Budget of the Federal Government that if they will invest in Indian Country to fight crime, that we will be able to deliver results. And so it is a Presidential initiative—what you might call a pilot program—that we have in place right now. We call it the High Priority Performance Goal and it’s aimed right now at four Native communities: Standing Rock, Rocky Boy, Wind River, and Mescalero. Why were they chosen? Because they have high crime rates. And we have to be able to demonstrate that if we do things the right way with adequate resources, we can turn this problem around and we can show within a 24-month timeframe that we can significantly reduce crime in those communities.
So how do we go about that? What we do is we go into a community and we assess what the problem is. And it’s not just the Federal Government. The Federal Government is a partner with tribal governments and, with other federal agencies—the Department of Interior and the Office of Justice Services—sits down with the tribal leaders and they say, what will it take? And then they craft a plan. And then we provide additional resources to put police officers on the ground there. Where do we get those police officers? Initially, what we’ve done is the sister agencies within the Department of Interior have formed an alliance with us where, through national parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the BLM [Bureau of Land Management], we send police officers in there to work with our officers and tribal officers to make sure that we have a strong presence.
But it’s not just about criminal law enforcement. It’s about looking at whatever the solution is. And so there are other agencies—it’s social workers, it’s Indian child welfare workers, it’s all the community—that get together and say, for this particular community, what individual plan will work? And thus far, it has been a tremendous success. And if we are able to continue that success, at the end of this pilot program, we will expand with the support of OMB—the budget writers for the Federal Government—and to other communities. So that’s the design that is part of the High Priority.
[End of video clip.]
Related Conference Video Clips and Transcripts: