An emergency curfew set by the Crow Nation on its reservation in southeast Montana remains in effect after three people were killed and two injured in what the tribal chairman said was a meth-related incident.
The curfew was instituted by Crow Tribal Chairman Alvin Not Afraid Jr. at the behest of law enforcement only hours after the shooting in the town of Lodge Grass. In a statement sent to Indian Country Media Network, Not Afraid Jr. expressed his condolences to the surviving families of the victims and spoke of the plague methamphetamine has on his people’s reservation.
“The cost of fighting meth is substantial, which takes prevention, awareness, enforcement and rehabilitation,” Not Afraid Jr. said. “Drugs have a devastating affect on our communities, and (August 4th’s) incident is a reminder of that. But the coming days and weeks will prove the strength of the Crow Community as we come together to find healing and hope, where today we feel pain and loss.”
Not Afraid Jr. said that for the past two years there has been a significant lack of law enforcement throughout the six communities on the Crow reservation, including a dearth of emergency health services.
“The shortage of law enforcement and emergency health services are more prevalent today,” he said. “Currently the local BIA Law Enforcement has half the workforce positions vacant. Due to these unoccupied positions it puts a heavy burden on the current Law Enforcement working hard to ensure public safety in these communities.”
Not Afraid Jr. added that his government has amended their budget to “hire three tribal Law Enforcement officers which shall commend duties this week.”
The names of the victims were released by Terry Bullis, the Big Horn County coroner, on August 6, and they include Leslie Frank Nomee Jr., 27; Nomee's wife, Denise Stewart Nomee, 25; and Nehemiah Brokenrope, 30, the Associated Press reported.
“I ask all Crow members, and all Montanans, to pray for those of us affected by this tragedy as we mourn the loss of life,” Not Afraid Jr. said.
Levi Flinn, the director of the department of media relations for the Crow Nation, told ICMN that there have been “no further developments” regarding the ongoing investigation and that the reservation-wide curfew will continue “until further notice.”
The curfew begins every night at 9 p.m. and is lifted at 5 a.m., and all vehicles entering the reservation are subject to being stopped and asked for proper identification, according to a notice posted to the Crow Nation website. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sandra Barker told the Associated Press that there have been no arrests to date and that the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident.
The FBI did not respond to ICMN’s request for comment.
Culture Editor Simon Moya-Smith contributed to this report.