Bree R. Black Horse will soon be sworn in as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

This is the culmination of a two-month transition. In February, U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref announced that she had enlisted Black Horse to prosecute cases involving MMIP.

Black Horse's purview extends well beyond Yakima, where she is based. She'll be working on cases throughout the Northwest, including states as distant as Montana and California. (The Justice Department defines "Northwest" extremely broadly.)

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Black Horse was recruited under the auspices of the MMIP Regional Outreach Program. Less than a year old, the program was established to "aid in the prevention and response to missing or murdered indigenous people," according to DOJ head Merrick Garland.

Tribal communities are too often resource-starved and painfully isolated. Absent federal support, it would be that much more difficult to mete out justice for American Indian and Alaska Native victims.

The Center for Disease Control reports that homicide is the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-old Native women.

Black Horse, who at 34 is a rising legal star, belongs to the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. She has devoted her career to such issues as "tribal sovereignty," "treaty issues" and "complex Indian Country litigation," writes the Puget Sound Business Journal.

In March she was anointed Woman of the Year by her alma matter, Seattle University School of Law.

Her swearing-in ceremony for Assistant U.S. Attorney will take place tomorrow afternoon at the Yakima Nation's Multi-Service Justice Center in Toppenish. Media personnel are permitted to attend, but the ceremony is closed to the public.

Passage of Peace Teepees Honor Native Americans

The Passage of Peace is 10 illuminated teepees on Oneida Indian Nation Land to recognize the Western Tribal Nations and the challenge Native Americans face. They are on display near Exit 33 off I-90 through the New Year.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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