Muscogee (Creek) Nation Receives Grant To Aid Influx Of New Criminal Cases

Thursday, September 17th 2020, 9:45 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal law enforcement and prosecutors are getting a grant to help with the tremendous increase in cases after a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Part of the $547,000 grant will help the tribe hire four new prosecutors who will handle cases of violence against women and child welfare.

"We're so happy these funds are available," said Muscogee (Creek) Nation press secretary Jason Salsman.

Salsman said since the historic Supreme Court McGirt v. Oklahoma case reaffirmed that the federal government and the tribe have jurisdiction if a crime is committed by a Native American on tribal land, and that the Muscogee reservation was never dissolved, the Creek nation caseload has gotten a lot bigger.

'We knew it was going to take sources of tribal and federal funding," Salsman said.

The grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office will help the Creek nation tackle some of the new challenges. They'll hire four new prosecutors for the Attorney General's Office to specifically handle child welfare, protective orders, and domestic violence.

"One of the things I hear constantly is women are victimized at rates higher than any other demographic in the nation, and that's something we have to stop," said US Attorney Trent Shores.

Shores said his office has also seen a record number of cases and indictments due to the McGirt ruling and said any help their partner agencies like Creek nation can get is huge.

"280 cases that would have been going to the state are now coming to our office, and many are going to the Creek nation," Shores said.

The money will also pay for new equipment and much needed updates to their tribal code.

Salsman said the tribe is adjusting well to the changes. He said Lighthorse police have now made cross-deputizing agreements with 60 law enforcement agencies, and this grant will keep that momentum going.

The Creek Nation said it's continuing to seek out more funding and one of its top priorities is with its juvenile justice system.