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Justice Dept. Honing in On Crime Issues Involving Native Americans

The Justice Department is stepping up to address problems of a forgotten segment of  America.  This is something long overdue.

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By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Justice Department leaders, responding to pleas from lawmakers and community groups, are training their attention on efforts to reduce crime and substance abuse on land controlled by the nation’s roughly 560 Native American tribes.

Federal law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute the bulk of serious criminal activity in Indian territory. But workers responsible for policing crime on reservations, where domestic violence and drug-fueled offenses have been on the rise, are overwhelmed and “grossly underfunded,” according to a memo submitted by the National Congress of American Indians as part of the presidential transition effort.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, the department’s third in command, will appear at a conference hosted by the National Congress of American Indians in Niagara Falls, N.Y., today to address the issues and promise more grant money for youth mentoring, victim assistance and crime prevention.

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