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Minnesota American Indian tribes awarded $8.1 million in justice grants

Minnesota American Indian tribes were awarded $8.1 million in federal grants Thursday for criminal justice programs.

It includes nearly $1.8 million for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and $300,000 for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, according to U.S. Sen. Al Franken, DFL-Minn., and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-7th District.

The Leech Lake Band will receive $991,275 in Community-Oriented Policing Services -- COPS -- funding, $368,049 for the prevention and control of delinquency and to improve the juvenile justice system in a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and $399,957 for a tribal government program in a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women.

Red Lake will receive $300,000 from the Office on Violence Against Women for a tribal sexual assault services program.

"I'm pleased that the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians will have these resources for sexual assault victims," said Peterson. "Assisting the tribe with these critical public safety needs is important to improving the lives of women and families throughout the Red Lake Nation."

The White Earth Band will receive about $2.3 million in three grants.

It will receive $478,009 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems. It will receive $990,880 from the COPS program and from the Office of Violence Aganst Women $824,632 for tribal governments program.

"For too long, law enforcement on Minnesota's reservations has been underfunded and overburdened," said Franken, who is a member of the Senate's Committee on Indian Affairs. "These funds are a good step toward making reservations safer for American Indians across Minnesota. I'm happy to see the Justice Department taking action."

The federal funding to seven reservations will help them strengthen their law enforcement and justice systems. The funds will be administered through the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation in the U.S. Justice Department.