Place Category: Specialized Court Projects
- THE LITTLE TRAVERSE BAY BANDS OF ODAWA INDIANS MICHIGAN TRIBAL SORNA COLLABORATION
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
- PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION
- PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Summary: The SORNA Collaboration brings together tribes across Michigan to discuss issues, challenges, successes and best practices related to achieving the Substantial Implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) guidelines as set forth by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. The collaboration, the first of its kind, provides program coordinators, administrators and tribal law enforcement with the training and technical assistance necessary to achieve their SORNA goals.
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB)
Program Running Length:
March 6, 2015 – Present
Susan (Su) Lantz
SORNA Coordinator & Exec. Legal Assistant
7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Harbor Springs, Michigan
The reservation boundary area encompasses over 200,000 acres of land, of which the LTBB owns 1,166 acres in fee or trust lands, within the exterior reservation boundary. It is mainly a resort area by nature, located along the shoreline of the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan up towards the Mackinaw Straits and in the proximity of three ski resorts and many other areas of vacationing interests. The area is mainly rural with several small cities and towns within the reservation boundary area. The terrain is mountainous-hilly, farmland areas, beachfront and camping areas, and numerous golf courses.
There are 4,575 tribal citizens. Within the population that lives on the reservation there are a couple of different scenarios:
The 1836 Treaty of Washington and the 1855 Treaty of Detroit recognized Emmet and Charlevoix Counties as the official homeland of the LTBB. Currently, the majority of the reservation lies within Emmet County, which has a population of 33,161 according to the 2015 census. This population is estimated to rise 1.4% during the spring and summer months.
There are approximately 700 Tribal citizens currently living within the exterior boundaries of the reservation area, some of which reside on trust land (dedicated LTBB Housing sites). The trust land is checker-boarded throughout the reservation boundary.
The SORNA Collaboration was developed primarily to enhance other trainings offered by other entities on the SORNA requirements established by Adam Walsh Act and other topics relating to sexual offenses. Most of the trainings available prior to the collaboration were geared towards law enforcement personnel and not intended for program coordinators or administrators.This state-wide Collaboration is a resource developed for tribal personnel working on substantially implementing a sex offender registry system in compliance with the requirements set forth by the USDOJ, SMART Office and the Adam Walsh Act.It is not unusual for the Tribes in Michigan to collaborate on different issues and topics. There is the United Tribes of Michigan, Inc. where tribal leaders meet to discuss concerns and/or concentrated efforts to support sovereignty. The tribes also collaborate through their Counsel and/or Leaders at Tribal-State Forum meetings with the Michigan Deputy Legal Counsel which lead up to an annual government-to-government meeting with the Governor to discuss economic development. This is generally a signatory meeting regarding a specific agreed upon effort between the tribes in Michigan and the State of Michigan. These efforts of banding together have proven to have a positive effect and set the precedent for the success of a Michigan Tribal SORNA Collaboration.
Despite this history of partnerships, the creation of the SORNA Collaboration was lengthy. It required a formal proposal and outreach to individual tribes across the State. This effort was rewarded, as it generated excitement among both the tribes and within the Department of Justice’s SMART office who has shared this concept throughout Indian Country.To bring together 9-12 tribes across the state of Michigan to discuss challenges, successes, practices, and plans related to the substantial implementation of the State’s sex-offender registry (SORNA). It exists to provide resources and ensure proper maintenance of these systems. The collaboration has evolved into a networking and support system that is structured in a manner to create a state-wide infrastructure for information sharing. The participants can always rely on supports from participants on the contact list.The SORNA Collaboration is a partnership between tribes across the state of Michigan. The Collaboration is in frequent communication, sharing resources, networking, and discussing progress related to sex-offender registries. At the pioneer meeting the group agreed to meet annually, if feasible, where tribes come together to share their success and challenges in person. Su Lantz holds the attendance records, although the list is shared with all participants, and she updates the record when preparing to coordinate a collaboration meeting. When there is a Regional SORNA Meeting in Michigan, by the USDOJ, SMART Office it is a likely time for the Collaboration Team to call a meeting.The Collaboration Team Meeting is facilitated by Su Lantz representing the LTBB Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORNS) Team. The team was developed by members who were working on achieving Substantial Implementation of SORNA, according to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office’s requirements.Not applicable to this collaborationThe initial funding or the first SORNA Collaboration meeting was approved by the LTBB General Counsel. Since the pioneer meeting portions of the Collaboration Team met at a National Symposium and at a Regional Trainings held at the Odawa Hotel in Petoskey, Michigan so there was not funding required. We took advantage of the circumstances and collaborated. Continued funding depends on budgets. Any participating Tribes can offer to host a meeting. There will be a Regional Training in Fall 2018 and we will likely meet in conjunction because it makes sense.The SORNA collaboration received assistance from Jim Warren, a tribal member of the White Earth Nation and a subject matter expert with the Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC). Jim helped facilitate the SORNA meetings and identify common trends and lessons learned. He also provided updates on the SMART office.The SORNA Collaboration is built on a partnership between tribes across the State of Michigan. The LTBB was primary in facilitating the first Michigan SORNA Collaboration Meeting although it is the partnership of all the participating Tribes that structure the backbone of the Collaboration Team. If there were only two (2) Tribes participating the structure would not be nearly as strong or effective.The precedent for collaboration among tribes in the State of Michigan was a large asset that contributed to the SORNA Collaboration’s success. In addition, the existence of the LTBB SORNS team, and its achievement of the Substantial Implementation of SORNA, provided a governing body for the initial SORNA Collaboration meeting.Coordinating a Michigan Tribal SORNA Collaboration Meeting is a challenge in itself. It requires many hours of correspondence either by email or over the phone. Getting feedback, staying connected and follow-up with the supportive network is a challenge but it is also what keeps the collaboration meaningful and necessary.A main takeaway of the SORNA Collaboration is the need to have a team who is willing to work together to achieve a common goal. In addition, it is necessary to ensure meetings have good facilitation so that they can be successful despite differences in work style, communication, or opinion.Nine tribes participated in the original collaboration meeting.The SORNA Collaboration has been effective on many fronts. First and foremost, it has created an avenue for information and resource sharing between the nine participating tribes. Additionally, it has allowed the tribes a clear line of communication to discuss issues and success with one another. Consequently, tribes have been able to create stronger sex offender registration systems and been able to more easily deal with issues when they arise.Both the tribes and the DOJ’s SMART office were eager to form the SORNA Collaboration. The Collaboration was the first partnership of its kind and generated a lot of excitement.
The success of the SORNA collaboration is evidenced by its existence. The Michigan tribes are the first to band together and create this type of collaboration. In addition, it has helped tribes to stay more connected with one another and share concerns and successes related to offender registries and other issues.
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