Yakama Nation declares public safety crisis to address rampant crime

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Yakama Nation Tribal Council has declared a public safety crisis due to increased crime in the community.

Tribal leaders are considering imposing harsher punishments and faster consequences against those who engage in illegal activity on Yakama lands.

Washington State Patrol has stopped actively patrolling the Yakama Reservation since the tribe’s successful retrocession from federal land. Since then, crime has become rampant in the small town of White Swan, prompting the tribe to take action, according to a news release. 

“We have crime and malicious activity, assault and abuse of community members happening,”  said Councilwoman Esther Moses-Hyipeer, a White Swan resident.

The Yakama Nation is calling on the United States to fulfill its trust fiduciary responsibility to their lands and people in addressing the crisis appropriately, a news release said.

A daily 8 p.m. curfew is now in place for youth in the White Swan community. A 24-hour phone line will also be in place for resorting crime.