QUAPAW, Okla. – All domestic violence crimes occurring on Quapaw Nation Reservation will now be handled by the law enforcement and judicial arms of the tribe.  

The Quapaw Nation Business Committee unanimously approved a law on Wednesday exercising special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

“There were 28 calls since the Lawhorn ruling and 16 of those calls involved a non-native suspect and a native victim,” said Charles Addington, Quapaw Nation Marshal Service Chief Marshal. “So 57 percent of those calls could have applied to the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction.

The Lawhorn ruling stems in part from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations reservations. The Lawhorn ruling allows the existence of the Quapaw Reservation making it the first and only tribe in Oklahoma to have its reservation affirmed that is not part of the “Five Civilized Tribes.”

“This is our Nation, and we have a duty to protect its citizens, especially those most vulnerable,” said Joseph Byrd, Quapaw Nation Chairman.

A recent cross-deputization agreement with seven local law enforcement agencies allows local law enforcement agencies to respond and assist Quapaw Nation Marshals. Prior to the cross-deputization agreements, law enforcement officers could not pursue crime once it crossed into the reservation. The agreement also requires those law enforcement agencies to uphold Quapaw Nation laws within the reservation boundaries.

With the plague of missing and murdered indigenous people in Indian Country Quapaw Nation can investigate and prosecute non-Indian offenders who victimize women and children inside the reservation, Byrd said.

“I am proud of the progress our team is working diligently to achieve,” Byrd said. “We want to be the model and show the public what a tribe can do.”

Would-be offenders and those who perpetrate domestic and dating violence – “we are watching you and we will continue ensuring our community is safe for everyone who lives in the reservation, “Byrd said.

Quapaw Nation’s special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction follows the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This allows the Quapaw Nation Court authority to administer stronger criminal sentences and higher fines for non-Indian perpetrators involved in domestic violence, dating violence, or violations of a protective order.

The Quapaw Nation Marshal Service was established in 2010 and currently has 24 law enforcement officers. The Quapaw Nation’s Ki-ho-ta Center houses the Quapaw Nation Courts.