Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

White Earth: Crime, Drugs, & Progress

The leader of the White Earth tribe says she's making a special effort to stop problems with drugs and crime on their reservation.

Erma Vizenor made her comments during her annual, State of the White Earth Nation address today at the Shooting Star Casino.

Those who live here or work in law enforcement say the crime that goes along with drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a major problem at White Earth.

Jennie Boswell, White Earth: "Everywhere you go it's drugs."

Reporter: "And along with the drugs comes crime?"

Boswell: "Yep and then the crime and after that booze."

Sheriff Doug Krier, Mahnomen County: "They're going to break into people's houses and steal prescription medications, they're going to steal TV's, DVR's, Game Boys…"

Reporter: "All to get money for drugs?"

Krier: "All to get money for drugs."

Natural Sound: "Tribal music…."

Today, before a gathering of over 700 tribal members, Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, acknowledged the problem, and said a special effort of drug education and awareness will come to every family at White Earth.

Erma Vizenor, White Earth Chairwoman: "It's on the ground work. It's person by person, family by family, home by home."

Reporter: "It's something you have to just keep working on?"

Vizenor: "Every single day."

Vizenor also says the tribe is making great progress. They have a new school, medical center and more. Displays were setup to inform members of all the programs available to them.

Vizenor says all of their social service programs are improving under a new arrangement that gives the tribe control of programs that were administered by the County. It also saves the State a lot of money.

Erma Vizenor: "The State receives 50% reimbursement. The Tribe will receive 100% through our contracting with the federal government."

Vizenor says it all takes times, but they're making progress at White Earth.


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