If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.

It takes a village to achieve change in Indian country. The power of Native Americans to raise awareness about crime, prevent violence, fix underfunded domestic violence programs, lobby policymakers, and provide community outreach and education has seen remarkable success. 

Native Americans have made significant strides in an effort to rehabilitate offenders, aid victims, enforce tribal sovereignty, and support service providers. These themes and more will be explored at the 44th Annual Indian Law Conference on April 11-12, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Register here on or before March 8, 2019 to enjoy full conference early-bird registration rates.

CRIME IN INDIAN COUNTRY: The Indian Law Conference offers a valuable and contemporary look at crime, courts, victimization, and jurisdiction in Indian country. Federal law divides the ability to prosecute crimes committed within Indian country between the federal, state, and tribal governments. The special legal status of Native Americans and complex jurisdictional issues complicate crime and prevention in Indian country.

Studies suggest that crime rates are much higher for Native Americans compared with the national average. Yet the U.S. Justice Department’s track record for prosecuting Indian country crimes has not significantly changed in recent years, according to recently released federal figures.  As a result, a community-based approach in Indian country may just be the catalyst for positive change.

COMMUNITY-BASED RESPONSE: Tribes have made significant progress addressing domestic violence and other crime in Indian country, building off enhanced sentencing authority in the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, and the reaffirmation of tribal criminal jurisdiction in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013.  

The Indian Law Conference panel on “Cooperative and Community-Based Responses to Combat Crime in Indian Country” will focus on successes and challenges related to criminal law issues in Indian country, with a focus on cooperative, multi-jurisdictional, and community-based strategies.

Speakers Virginia Davis (Senior Advisor, National Congress of American Indians), OJ Flores (Chief Prosecutor, Pascua Yaqui Prosecutor’s Office), and Hon. R. Trent Shores (United States Attorney, Northern District of Oklahoma) (invited) will address improving ways to help victims, increasing tribal court’s jurisdictional reach to include non-Indian criminals, and seeking justice for victims.  

#METOO: Due in part to the global phenomenon of the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp era, Indian country has experienced an important wake-up call, bringing to light the fact that many workplaces are not safe or respectful toward women. Speakers Ryan J. Munitz (Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP), Mary Kathryn Nagle (Pipestem Law Firm), and Ann Tweedy (Muckleshoot Indian Tribe) will serve on the timely panel “#MeToo: Ethical Considerations of Workplace Sexual Harassment and Discrimination.”

Recent events in the legal community, including in Indian country, have shown the need for all attorneys to assess their conduct as well as the conduct of others around them in the workplace and beyond.   This panel will examine the steps taken to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, including through imposition of ethical obligations on attorneys.

2019 marks a tenuous time for tribal rights. The Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Conference will examine and contemplate strategies, methods, and best practices for Indian law practitioners and advocates. Sign up now for this consequential conference at www.fedbar.org/indianlaw19.  

Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.