March | April 2014

Task Force Holds Third Public Hearing on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence

Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to  Violence

On April 16–17, 2014, a task force advisory committee appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder held the third of four public hearings to examine the impact of violence on children in Indian country.

OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee offered opening remarks at the third public hearing of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. The hearing was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee offered opening remarks at the third public hearing of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. The hearing was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The hearing, which took place in Fort Lauderdale, FL, focused on tribal children’s exposure to violence in the community as well as promising approaches to address the problem. It included panel discussions on the Indian Child Welfare Act, gangs and sex trafficking in urban and rural American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and violence in tribal schools.

“American Indian and Alaska Native children encounter violence and trauma at unusually high rates, and the effects of this exposure can be devastating,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee in his opening remarks. “The information and ideas being gathered at this hearing will guide our efforts to help tribal leaders and families protect their kids.”

The Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence is composed of a federal working group that includes U.S. Attorneys and officials from the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice and an advisory committee of experts on American Indian/Alaska Native studies, child health and trauma, and child welfare. The 13-member advisory committee is co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and Iroquois composer and singer Joanne Shenandoah. 

The Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence is a key component of Attorney General Holder’s Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent and reduce children’s trauma from experiencing violence as victims or witnesses.

The advisory committee held its first public hearing in Bismarck, ND, on December 9, 2013, and the second in Scottsdale, AZ, on February 11, 2014. The final public hearing will be held in Anchorage, AK, on June 11–12. 

Administrator Listenbee Addresses Tribal Children’s Exposure to Violence in Online Interview

On April 3, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee discussed the prevention of children's exposure to violence in American Indian and Alaska Native communities during an interview on Native America Calling, an online call-in program for Native communities. Listenbee described the work the advisory committee of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence has started through public hearings held across the country. He stated that the advisory committee’s charge is “to improve identification of and appropriate treatment and services for children who have been exposed to violence in Indian country” and “to involve American Indian and Alaska Native youth in the solution.”

Resources:

A press release about the hearing and more information about the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative and the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence are available on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site.

To learn more about OJJDP's tribal youth initiatives, visit the Office's Web site.