June 20, 2007

Dorgan Announces Indian Affairs Committee Hearing to Feature Testimony from Fort Berthold Chairman

Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus Wells will testify Thursday at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) that will examine the state of law enforcement in American Indian communities.
Dorgan said the participation of Wells will add an important viewpoint to the hearing from the chairman of a rural North Dakota tribe. Last month, Dorgan held a meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, with tribal leaders to discuss law enforcement issues. Wells and other tribal leaders from the state told him more resources are needed to address methamphetamine abuse and other issues. Dorgan, a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, helped secure an increase in funding for tribal law enforcement in a pending appropriations bill.
The typical police department in Indian Country has between one and three officers patrolling a land area the size of Delaware. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of violent crime against American Indians is more than twice the national average.
ā€œIā€™m pleased to have Chairman Wells testifying before the Indian Affairs Committee. His leadership on the Fort Berthold Reservation will lend us a constructive voice as we discuss the state of law enforcement in Indian Country,ā€ Dorgan said.