Montana Public Radio

Bureau of Indian Affairs

A row of police vehicles, purchased with CARES Act funding, sits gathering tumbleweeds and flat tires in the parking lot of administrative offices in Crow Agency on March 12, 2021.
Olivia Swant-Johnson / UM School of Journalism

Last June, the Crow Nation created a new police department. Then, five months later, that department shut down with little notice as to why.

MTPR’s Freddy Monares spoke to Nikki Zambon and Olivia Swant-Johnson, the pair who reported the story for the Montana Native News Honors Project at the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.

 

Crow Nation Policing Case Heard Before U.S. Supreme Court

Mar 24, 2021

In 2016, a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer is patrolling the highway near Crow Agency. He finds a car pulled over on the side of the road. He approaches the vehicle and finds a man displaying signs of intoxication with drug paraphernalia nearby and a gun.

When the man, Joshua James Cooley, is charged with drug-related crimes, his lawyer successfully argues that the evidence from that night should be suppressed because the tribal police officer shouldn’t have had authority over Cooley, a non-Indian.

The Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana has declared a continued state of emergency until the number of COVID-19 cases in the area declines. Here's what this means for reservation residents.

On Oct. 5 President Rynalea Whiteman Pena of the Northern Cheyenne tribe issued an executive order extending the full lockdown of the reservation.

Northern Cheyenne President Rynalea Pena Aug. 9 ordered a reservation-wide lockdown through Wednesday, August 19, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases and people not following existing health mandates meant to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MMIW Cold Case Office Opens In Billings

Aug 7, 2020

A federal office to investigate cold cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people opened in Billings on Aug. 6.

The office is part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Lady Justice Task Force.

Montana is one of seven states to get a Cold Case Task Force office aimed at solving the high number of cases involving missing and murdered Native American people. It’s the latest step in slow moving systemic change spurred by grassroots efforts in communities with significant Native American populations, like Billings.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Firefighters extinguished more than two dozen small fires on the Crow Indian Reservation in southeast Montana that were believed to be started by an arsonist, officials said.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs said the first the fires was reported Wednesday evening north of Crow Agency. About 17 fires were ignited between Crow Agency and Hardin, and 10 more were ignited south of Crow Agency.

Crow tribal leaders met with Montana U.S. Senator Steve Daines on July 17 to request support for the new tribal police department’s operations and novel Coronavirus surge planning.

Senator Daines toured a closed Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) jail in Crow Agency with members of the Crow Executive Branch, Crow Tribal Police, BIA Police and high ranking local judges.

The new Crow Police Department, which was formed June 27, is seeking to reopen the Crow Agency Jail.

 

The U.S. Senate will consider expanding access to healthcare for Native American veterans and streamline the hiring process for tribal law enforcement. That’s after two bills passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Wednesday.

 

As Attorney General William Barr visited Montana to unveil his plan to address the crisis of missing people in Indian Country, a tribe across the state has declared an emergency over what they say is a lack of policing on their reservation.

A Fort Belknap council member briefed the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Wednesday about roadblocks to homeownership.

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