Skip to main content

News Release

United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today convened a field oversight hearing titled “To Protect and Serve: Joint Law Enforcement Efforts in Building Safe Tribal Communities and Stopping Dangerous Drugs from Entering Indian Country.” The field oversight hearing was held in Bismarck, North Dakota at United Tribes Technical College.

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) at Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Field Hearing in Bismarck, North Dakota

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) at Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Field Hearing in Bismarck, North Dakota

“One of my top priorities as Chairman has been to address public safety in Indian communities and as a result, the Committee has been active in finding solutions. Last Congress, we held several roundtables, oversight hearings and reported numerous pieces of legislation out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that address this urgent matter,” Hoeven said. “I appreciate the opportunity to hear from our witnesses this morning, and I have the highest confidence that this oversight hearing will be productive and leave us with a better understanding of where the path to progress lies.”

Also during the hearing, Hoeven examined how dangerous drugs enter Indian country and what best practices are available to combat the illicit drug trade, including increased inter-agency collaboration of federal, tribal and state authorities.

In his opening remarks, Hoeven highlighted bills he introduced in the 116 Congress that will enhance safety in Indian Country:

  • S. 210, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and strengthen several key programs to improve tribal justice and public safety for Indian communities.
  • S. 211, the SURVIVE Act, which would expand critical victims services by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund be allocated directly to Indian Tribes.

Additionally, the Senator outlined Savanna’s Act, legislation named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind of the Spirit Lake Tribe. The legislation requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans and requires that the DOJ and DOI consult with Indian tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines.

Joined by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (ND-AL), the Committee heard from three panels of federal, tribal, and state officials. 

Witnesses testifying at the hearing included: 

  • North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
Scroll to Continue

Read More

  • North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith
  • Spirit Lake Nation Tribal Chairwoman Myra Pearson
  • Sisseton Wapheton Oyate Nation Tribal Councilwoman Lisa Jackson
  • Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Tribal Councilwoman Judy Brugh
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure

For witness testimony click here.

Related coverage

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold field oversight hearing in Bismarck March 20

Representatives O'Halleran, Haaland introduce bill to provide resources to survivors of domestic violence in tribal communities

Senator Hoeven outlines agenda at National Congress of American Indians

Indian Affairs passes Hoeven's Survive Act, Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization

Sen. Murkowski keeps promise to Heidi Heitkamp, reintroduces Savanna’s Act

On Savanna's Act Heitkamp tells House: Get to work. 'You're getting a paycheck!'