Havre Daily News
ROCKY BOY'S INDIAN RESERVATION - The Rocky Boy tribal council Tuesday had a chance to talk with regional and area FBI agents about law enforcement issues affecting the tribe. Council members wanted to learn the tribe's role in homeland security and to find out how the FBI could support the tribe in crime fighting.
Council member Brian "Kelly" Eagleman asked about the role of Montana tribes in policing America's northern border.
"The Homeland Security Act didn't even recognize anything with the tribes, which was a glaring gap we thought we'd be addressing soon," special agent in charge Timothy Fuhrman said. Fuhrman is the new director of the FBI's regional office in Salt Lake City, and his trip to Rocky Boy was part of a tour of the Hi-Line.
Fuhrman said the federal government is working on a homeland security program specifically for tribes that would help them understand their role and provide some surveillance equipment.
Council members also wanted to know the FBI's priorities regionally and locally.
"The priority is clearly going to be working on the Indian reservations," Fuhrman said.
Specifically, that means investigating deaths, violent and sexual crimes against children and adults, and drug crimes, he added.
Council chairman John "Chance" Houle was interested to learn how the FBI could support the tribe's effort to rebuild the jail at Rocky Boy.
The tribe is not allowed to hold juveniles there because they cannot be held with adults, Houle said, but the tribe has no facility for them. The tribe sends juveniles to detention centers in Chinook and Oklahoma at a high cost.
Houle asked Fuhrman if the FBI would be able to write letters of support as the tribe looks for funding for a new jail.
Fuhrman said it was a possibility, and also told Houle he mightapproach the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which he said has made improving reservation jails a priority after accounts of terrible conditions at a jail on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation surfaced last year.
As for crime prevention, Fuhrman told the council about a new staffer at the Havre area office, a victim specialist added to the office six weeks ago
The victim specialist will work with victims and the community whenever a crime occurs, but can also do crime prevention work, he said.
"It seems to me the actions of our youth are in an escalating scale in the wrong direction," council member Raymond "Jake" Parker told the agents.
Victim specialist Carmen Kucinich said she plans to make a domestic-abuse presentation at schools on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and would like to get in touch with Rocky Boy schools to see if she can do similar presentations there.
Kucinich will also work on a quarterly newsletter about indictments and sentencings so area youth will have an idea about the ramifications of crime, she said.
Kucinich said she'd be open to other crime prevention ideas as well.
"If Carmen and any of the agents can come out and send a positive message, please invite us," Fuhrman said.
The local agents and Kucinich were invited to the annual Rocky Boy powwow held Friday through Sunday and each said they planned to attend.
"We really appreciate your coming. It's given us a chance to put some communication between tribal government and you folks," Houle said.
The agents also met with Hill County Sheriff Greg Szudera and Havre Police Chief Mike Barthel on Tuesday. Barthel said today that the FBI agents asked about the most pressing issue locally. Barthel said he and Szudera agreed that the top issue is the proliferation of methamphetamine and other drugs.