Yakama Nation declares public safety crisis; may banish criminals

Yakama Nation declared public safety crisis; may banish criminals

Toppenish, WA -- The Yakama Nation Tribal Council (YNTC) has declared a public safety crisis, and says that persons engaged in unlawful activities on Yakama lands could face immediate exclusion, jail time, fines, suspension of all Treaty-reserved hunting, fishing and gathering right, and banishment with forfeiture of per capita payments.

The tribal council says it will impose harsher punishments and faster consequences on those who commit crimes.

This comes after the YNTC says there has been rampant crime in and around the small town of White Swan. The YNTC also says the Washington State Patrol has refused to patrol the Yakama Reservation since PL-280 last year.

On Wednesday, the tribal council passed a resolution declaring a public safety crisis. The resolution will also reopen the White Swan YN Tribal Police sub-station.

The tribe is imposing an 8 p.m. curfew for youth in the White Swan area 7 days a week.

There will also be a 24-hour telephone hotline for reporting crime.

YNTC Councilwoman Esther Moses-Hyipeer, who lives in White Swan, said "We have crime and malicious activity, assault and abuse of community members happening. As leaders of this Nation we have heard the concerns of our community members and are taking this activity very seriously because this is an issue not only happening in White Swan but throughout Yakama lands and all communities. We need to come together to make a positive difference."

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