Indian Country Crime
The FBI investigates the most serious crimes in Indian Country—such as murder, child sexual and physical abuse, violent assaults, drug trafficking, public corruption, financial crimes, and Indian gaming violations. More than 150 agents work Indian Country matters full time.
The FBI’s Indian Country Special Jurisdiction Unit (ICSJU) at FBI Headquarters promotes relationship building and information sharing through its Safe Trails Task Forces and working group. The ICSJU also provides critical training to Indian Country law enforcement, in partnership with the Department of Justice and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Protecting tribal communities is a little known—but highly important—responsibility of the FBI. We’ve been helping to ensure safety and security in Indian Country since our founding in 1908.
There are about 574 federally recognized American Indian Tribes in the United States, and the FBI has federal law enforcement responsibility on nearly 200 Indian reservations. This federal jurisdiction is shared concurrently with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services.
The ICSJU develops and implements strategies, programs, and policies to address crime in Indian Country, for which the FBI has responsibility.
The ICSJU daily operations consist of providing:
- Program management
- Support for operational and forensic expenses
- Training of Indian Country law enforcement officers
- Initiatives related to missing and murdered Indigenous persons, domestic violence, and sex offenses
- Reporting under the Tribal Law and Order Act
- Support for the Safe Trails Task Forces.
Among the FBI's partners on Indian Country matters are the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Approximately 75 percent of the crimes the FBI investigates in Indian Country fall under the following priority violations:
- Death investigations
- Physical abuse of a child
- Sexual abuse of a child
- Violent felony assaults
The FBI’s Victim Services Division has victim specialists dedicated to Indian Country, representing approximately one-third of the entire FBI victim specialist workforce. These victim specialists are critical to FBI Indian Country cases, assisting victims throughout the entire case process.
ICSJU works with the Department of Justice and Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide training for federal, state, county, and tribal law enforcement officers.
The FBI typically supports the following courses for Indian Country law enforcement personnel:
- Indian Country criminal investigator training
- Death investigations
- Child physical and sexual abuse investigations
- Adult physical and sexual assault investigations
- Gang and drug trafficking investigations
- Public corruption investigations
- Financial crime investigations
- Crime scene management and evidence collection
- Crisis negotiation and tactical training
- Child forensic interviewing
- Interviewing and interrogation.
The Safe Trails Task Force Program is a partnership between the FBI and other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement that works to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. Founded in 1994, Safe Trails Task Forces allow participating agencies to increase investigative coordination in Indian Country to target violent crime, drugs, gangs, and gaming violations.