Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe holding discussions amid crime ‘crisis’

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Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 8:27 AM MDT
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EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Leaders of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in north-central South Dakota are holding forums to address a recent rise in violent crime on the reservation.

A press release from the tribe called the increase in crime a “crisis” resulting in a “dramatic” rise in death of tribal members. The release was sent days after a reported double homicide in Eagle Butte.

According to the release, Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier has met with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe law enforcement, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Court, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Department of Tribal Justice officials. Multiple members of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council were also present in the discussion as well as Tribal contract attorneys.

During the discussions strategies were discussed to increase the number of officers on patrol as well as strengthening the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Prosecutor’s office. These strategies are part of the initial plan to provide tribal members with a more robust process to keep the peace.

Officials say there is currently a backlog of complaints filed by tribal members which has resulted in a “slow process and a long wait for tribal members to see justice.” A Federal Task Force to assist the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in addressing the backlog in complaints was suggested to the Federal representatives. Federal representatives were optimistic in beginning the process of putting together a Federal Task Force with the ability to provide the technical assistance.

“Our lack of trust in the system to get things done causes our people to only get justice if one side is no longer living on the reservation,” Frazier said. “This is causing our people to not even bother calling the police or showing up for court. When something like that happens there is no longer justice. We need to step up our own efforts because the Federal government is once again failing to protect us.”

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