News Release

U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the FBI yesterday announced the completion of the nation’s first Tribal Community Response Plan (TCRP) as part of a pilot project to address cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.

Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chairwoman Shelly R. Fyant and FBI Executive Assistant Director Terry Wade presented the Tribal Community Response Plan to tribal representatives during a meeting today at tribal headquarters in Pablo.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on December 1 launched the pilot project in accordance with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Initiative, and the President’s Operation Lady Justice Task Force, and in furtherance of the goals in Savanna’s Act.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, with participation from federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement representatives and community organizations, developed guidelines for the Tribal Community Response Plan through a series of working group meetings.

“Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ development of a community response plan is a historic milestone in addressing this serious national issue. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’s initiative to join in this pilot project will help other tribes across the country as they develop their own Tribal Community Response Plans. I want to thank our office’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator, Ernie Weyand, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chairwoman Fyant, Council member and secretary, Ellie Bundy, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes policy analyst, Jami Pluff, and all of the partners and stakeholders who participated in this process,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson said.

“I’m honored to say that a lot of hard work went into reaching this milestone,” said Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chairwoman Fyant. “By coming together in this effort, we have shown how true partnerships work, that by collaborating we can achieve incredible goals. We are not slowing down now. We will continue to bring light to this crisis as long as it is necessary and provide the essential law and order, victim services, media/public communications and community outreach work with all available resources. Thanks to everyone for their dedication and commitment to supporting the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Community Response Plan.”

FBI Executive Assistant Director (EAD) Terry Wade, who oversees the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch (CCRSB), stated: “The FBI has been dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Initiative since its inception and remains committed to the initiative. Working directly with forward leaning partners like the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) is critical to improving the safety and security of our communities. The development of the Tribal Community Response Plan (TCRP) is yet another step in the right direction and will facilitate a coordinated response in these time sensitive investigations.”

After pilot projects are completed, Savanna’s Act directs the U.S. Attorney’s Office to continue working with other tribal governments to ensure guidelines are developed across Montana.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes was selected for the pilot project in Montana because it had expressed an interest in participating, has worked on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons issue, including establishing a tribal task force, and has significant community impact related to cases involving tribal members. In addition, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes was able to meet despite COVID-19 restrictions.

The working group meetings included representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement (including the Flathead Tribal Police Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Sanders County Sheriff’s Office, Polson Police Department, Ronan Police Department, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Montana Department of Justice) and community organizations.

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