U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Visits UTTC - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Visits UTTC

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President Obama is set to visit Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.

The presidential announcement happened on the same day as a visit from the U.S. Attorney General.

Eric Holder was the keynote speaker at a tribal conference this afternoon at United Tribes Technical College.

Attorney General Holder addressed a large crowd of tribal members and law enforcement, talking mostly about how to put an end to crimes on the reservation- in particular, violence against women.

Public Safety may be a concern on Tribal Lands, but Attorney General Eric Holder says the DOJ is working with tribal leaders to address the issue.

"We reinforce the ties that bind us together and as we strive to address the crime and the public safety challenges that we all still share," says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says sexual assault is a huge safety problem on and off the reservation-- that both his office and the U.S. Department of Justice have been working on.

"It's something that could be preventable and that needs to be addressed and we need to make sure that we're devoting adequate resources," says ND Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

And in his speech at United Tribes Technical College, Holder says this school is already taking measures to fight sexual assault.

"You are protecting our young people and you're supporting those who are at risk and also those who are in need," says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

While Holder acknowledged a quote "painful past" between Native Americans and the U.S. government he says over the past few decades progress has been made.

And both officials and tribal leaders agree that coming together to stop sexual assault and other safety concerns will be critical to putting an end to the violence.

"And I think it's an important one to recognize we all have to work together on these law enforcement issues," says Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

"What we're emphasizing is we can't do this by ourselves. It has to be partnerships...To talk as equal partners, for Indian Country, that's huge," says Interim President of UTTC Phil Baird.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota says the last sitting attorney general to visit Bismarck was Robert F. Kennedy in 1963.

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