Gonzales announces grants to fight crime on reservations 8-07

Harbor Springs, Michigan (AP) - The Justice Department plans to use $3 million in grants to help American Indian tribes in Michigan fight violent crimes, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced Tuesday.

Gonzales also met with leaders of the state’s 12 federally recognized tribes. The discussion was held at a Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians center, about 230 miles northwest of Detroit.

“The challenges of Indian country are American challenges involving crime and drug abuse. No neighborhood is immune to these crimes,” Gonzales said.

The grants are for crime prevention and improvements to victim assistance. Similar grants have helped the Odawas establish a Web-based system to share criminal history records with other tribes, Odawa grant writer Heidi Yaple told the Petoskey News-Review.

Last year, Gonzales said federal authorities would re-examine unsolved criminal cases on American Indian reservations to see whether new investigative tools could be used.

Gonzales did not comment Tuesday on the dismissal of Margaret Chiara, former U.S. attorney for Michigan’s western district.

Chiara had worked with tribal leaders to establish programs curtailing violence against women. She was one of eight top federal prosecutors forced to resign earlier this year by the Justice Department.

Information from: Petoskey News-Review, http://www.petoskeynews.com