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Tribal Strategies Against Violence: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Case Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
40 pages
This report documents the activities implemented by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, along with their impact, under two grant periods of the U.S. Justice Department's initiative of Tribal Strategies Against Violence (TSAV), which is a Federal-tribal partnership intended to reduce crime, violence, and drug demand in seven selected American Indian Tribes.
The Grand Traverse Band's initial TSAV grant was awarded October 1, 1996, and the program ended on August 9, 1999. The program evaluation involved two site visits, the first in January 1998, which involved three evaluation team members, and the second in November 1999, which involved two evaluation team members. Evaluation activities included on-site interviews with affiliated program staff of the Grand Traverse Band, key TSAV core team members, key tribal court personnel, key tribal law enforcement personnel, TSAV program partners, the Tribal Chairman and tribal council members, and other community service providers that participated in the local TSAV initiative's planning and implementation. The evaluation also reviewed program documents in U.S. Justice Department files as well as tribal and project document maintained on-site. A survey of local TSAV stakeholders was conducted, and the Grand Traverse Band's law enforcement data were analyzed. The assessment of program structure and chronology focused on program organization and structure; the planning process; goals and strategies; budget; and site monitoring, reporting, and local evaluation. An assessment of the implementation of local TSAV strategies focused on approaches to reducing family violence, reducing youth substance abuse, strengthening partnerships, preventing youth crime and violence, and establishing a youth-initiated and planned Native American Youth Conference. The extent to which the TSAV grant program objectives were addressed was also determined. The evaluation found that thus far there is little or no statistical evidence to document TSAV's impact on crime or violence. In the absence of sufficient quantitative data, the evaluation relied on qualitative data to assess that transformation that may have occurred at the community level as a result of TSAV. The evaluation concluded that the Grand Traverse Band has successfully institutionalized the cross-agency problem solving process envisioned under TSAV objectives. The primary prevention education activities that occurred were in the areas of violence prevention (primarily domestic violence), substance abuse prevention, and gang prevention. Although community policing initiatives were undertaken, they were not coordinated with TSAV activities. A variety of activities were conducted to provide youth with alternatives to using substances. Further, the core team sought and obtained resources to implement a new data collection process. The TSAV partners also made substantial structural changes to the reservation's criminal justice system through the enactment of tribal laws related to domestic violence, inhalant and other drug abuse, and through the issuance of zero tolerance laws/policies as well as policies that deal with sexual harassment among tribal employees and no-smoking in tribal facilities. The critical lesson learned in this case study was the need to have as the TSAV director someone who is familiar with the community and who has a history of working with other local core team members. The program might have been better served by having an Indian person as the TSAV director to facilitate involvement of critical cultural resource people. 1 table and 2 figures

Date Published: January 1, 2002