The federal government is contributing money to help federal prosecutors process an increased number of cases in Indian Country. U.S. Attorney General William Barr visited Tahlequah Wednesday to announce the increased funding.
The total award tops out at $295.8 million dollars in grants to improve safety in Native American and Alaska Native communities.
During the meeting at the Cherokee Nation capital, Barr announced that the Justice Department is awarding $40 million to expand tribal criminal justice efforts in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court decision in Oklahoma. More than $7 million of that money will go to Cherokee Nation.
Barr also spoke about possible legislation to address what some view as jurisdictional issues surrounding the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision.
"I know McGirt is on everyone's mind in Washington. The Department of Justice is working closely with the Oklahoma delegation to try to come up with a legislative approach that is supported by all sides of it," said Barr.
Representatives from the Cherokee Nation and the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern and Northern District were invited to the meeting. While it is widely believed the ruling will extend to the Five Tribes, it currently only applies to Muscogee (Creek) Nation, but they didn't get an invitation.
Jonodev Chaudhuri, the Ambassador for Muscogee (Creek) Nation, said not getting an in-person meeting with Barr was a missed opportunity.
"There are certainly matters that we would love to discuss with him regarding our efforts to collaborate with our sovereign partners to ensure public safety, but also to take advantage of opportunities across the board, including in terms of economic development."
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