Senate hears from Wyo. Tribal Commission member |

Senate hears from Wyo. Tribal Commission member

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) welcomed members of the Tribal Law and Order Commission, including Wyoming’s Affie Ellis, to testify before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee about the Commission’s recently released report, “A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer,” on Feb. 12.

Affie Ellis, a member of the Navajo Nation who grew up in Jackson and now lives in Cheyenne, was appointed to the Tribal Law and Order Commission in 2010 by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the recommendation of Barrasso.

Ivan Posey, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Chairman of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council also served on the Commission’s tribal advisory committee. Ivan was scheduled to testify in person at the hearing but unfortunately could not make it due to travel delays.

“I want to thank both Affie Ellis and Ivan Posey for their considerable contribution to the Commission’s work. Affie served as a Commissioner and travelled to some of the most remote locations in this country to hear from Indian people,” said Barrasso. “Their hard work, thorough research and thoughtful input will help Washington better understand what we can do to improve public safety in Indian Country.”

The Commission, which was created by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, was tasked with producing a detailed report for the President and Congress on how we can improve and address certain deficiencies in the Indian country criminal justice system.

At today’s hearing, Commissioner Affie Ellis highlighted some of the key findings and conclusions included in the report.

“I like the term ‘common sense’ to best describe our recommendations and our work. And in short, we call for more local, tribal control over law enforcement issues,” said Ellis. “Our Commission views tribal governments as having the lead role in strengthening tribal justice. And we recognize tribes have a lot of challenges and they’ve got to continue to develop internal capacities to become more self-determined across all tribal justice functions. This isn’t easy, we know this, but it can and must be done.”

The Commission’s report includes a “Roadmap” of specific recommendations and proposals for making Native American and Alaska Native nations safer and more just, while protecting the civil rights of all U.S. citizens. F

–Senator Barrasso

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