In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on tribal jurisdiction, the victims of major crimes are facing the reality of re-living trials.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation victims' advocates want Oklahomans to know they are ready to help.
"It’s about providing that support to the victim and how they need it," Tania Bardin, acting director of the tribe's Family Violence Prevention Program, said. The program works with victims of crime.
Bardin said those impacted by ruling on tribal jurisdiction will face retrials and they are there to help provide counseling and resources.
"We can’t take away what will take place in the courtroom, but we will do our best to prepare them to be there to support them to work with our AG‘s office or whoever will be prosecuting the case," Bardin said.
The program has a 24/7/365 hotline for victims to call and over a dozen victim advocates ready to answer questions. Before the reservation ruling, the program took in an average of 400 cases a year. Since July's decision, they expect to exceed that because more victims will reach out for help and support.
"We’re all working really hard to meet that need and work on things that we can do to make the systems better," project manager Shannon Buchanan said.
Buchanan also wants victims to know change in jurisdiction doesn't mean an impact on justice.
"We want to make sure victim safety is kept at the forefront and we want to make sure that the offenders are held accountable despite who is prosecuting," Buchanan said.
A victim does not have to be Native American to use the program nor do they have to have a case filed with police. However, the case must be on the Creek Reservation.
For more information, visit the website here or find the emergency hotline information below.
EMERGENCY On-Call 24 Hours A Day 7 Days A Week
An Advocate is available 24-hours a day 7 days a week to speak with you and provide support. These services and support will be provided to you confidentially without judgment. Please contact us at (918) 732-7979. If you need assistance after hours, please contact Lighthorse Police at (918)732-7800 or (877) 547-3390 and ask to speak to the on-call Advocate.