Lorraine Edmo, bottom row, third from left, with other attendees at the consutation session on November 14. (Submitted photo)
Edmo amongst DOJ recognized employees
By LORI EDMO-SUPPAH
WASHINGTON D.C. — Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Lorraine P. Edmo is among 270 Department of Justice employees Attorney General Eric Holder is recognizing for distinguished public service.
The 61st Annual Attorney General Awards program recognizes department employees and other individuals for their dedication to carry out the Department of Justice’s mission. “Despite significant challenges, evolving threat and unprecedented budgetary difficulties, these dedicated employees have exemplified the very best of what it means to serve the American people,” said Holder in a press release. “Over the past year each of them has gone above and beyond the call of duty to carry out the Justice Department’s critical mission and protect our fellow citizens.” Holder said he is proud and humbled to count the employees as colleagues and he congratulated them on the prestigious and well-deserved recognition.
She is among those awarded the “Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in Indian Country,” that recognizes extraordinary efforts by department employees who demonstrate the department’s commitment to fighting crime in Indian Country. The award is presented to a team of dedicated department attorneys and staff who fought to combat violence against Native American women. Because of their work, tribes will be able to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence in Indian Country for the first time in decades. The system-wide change in Indian Country will hold all accountable perpetrators of domestic and dating violence against women regardless of race or tribal affiliation.
Edmo is the Deputy Director for Tribal Affairs in the Office of Violence Against Women.
“I was very pleased and honored to be notified that I am being recognized for my work on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native women who may be victims of domestic violence in Indian Country,” she said. “This crime happens all too often and needs to be stopped. I have been a part of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women for seven years and it has been both a challenging and rewarding experience.”
She added, “It is good to know that our work goes to help many Indian women across the United States. Last March, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which for the first time in many years will allow tribes, who chose to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence in Indian Country to do so for the first time in decades.” It is a historic law and Indian woman were joined by many friends and advocates who worked on passage of it. There was a team of dedicated attorneys and staff at the United States Department of Justice who worked on proposing this provision to Congress 2011. The initial language was presented to Tribal leaders at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) then and it took nearly two years to become law. It is a huge step forward for tribes, she continued.
Edmo said OVW and DOJ staff are working in cooperation with NCAI and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, Inc.to facilitate an Inter-Tribal Working Group which has met twice in the past six months to make sure that the pilot project, called for in the law, is properly administered. “I encourage tribes to review the newly published Federal Register notice which went to print on November 29, 2013, to see the latest information on the tribal jurisdictional provisions.”
In addition to the work at OVW, she said their office administers Tribal government grants to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and teen dating violence across Indian Country. They also provide funding to 15 active tribal coalitions in states where there are larger concentrations of Indian people. In 2013, OVW provided more than $40 million in grants to tribes for these purposes. “A couple of weeks ago, I facilitated the annual Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation on Violence Against Indian Women and we had a great response from Tribal leaders in Washington, DC. This was our eighth annual consultation and the interest from tribes was high,” she continued.
Edmo said the recognition she received from the Attorney General Holder’s office is deeply appreciated. “I want to pay special tribute to my parents, Maxine Edmo and the late Kesley Edmo, Sr., for their commitment to Indian people because they instilled in me the need to work on behalf of Indian people. I appreciate the support of my immediate family and friends.”
She joined OVW in November 2006 with more than 30 years experience working on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native people at the regional and national level. Her federal career includes positions at the U.S. Department of Interior where she directed the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education; the U.S. Department of Education where she worked on implementing Executive Order 13096 on American Indian and Alaska Native Education; and the U.S. Department of Health Services where she managed grants for the Administration for Native Americans.
Prior to her federal service, Edmo directed two national non-profit Indian organizations — the American Indian Graduate Center in Albuquerque, N.M. and the National Indian Education Association in Alexandria, Virginia. She served on numerous boards and commissions working for the betterment of Indian people and in 1992, was named Outstanding Alumnus by the University of New Mexico’s Public Administration Department. She began her career as editor of her tribe’s newspaper and founded the currently published Sho-Ban News.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Montana and her Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico.