The Northern Arapaho Business Council (NABC) has unanimously approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency due to methamphetamine usage “that has reached a crisis level and threatens to permanently damage the wellbeing of the Tribe.”
“As duly-elected representatives of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, we’re fully committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our community,” said NABC Chairman Lee Spoonhunter. “Methamphetamine touches every corner of the Wind River Indian Reservation. We will use every available resource and coordinate as appropriate with federal, state and local authorities to combat this epidemic and protect the Northern Arapaho people.”
As part of its resolution, the NABC will establish and supervise a special Methamphetamine Task Force dedicated to finding solutions to this crisis, which has contributed to disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, violent crime, death and suicide in the Northern Arapaho community. Methamphetamine and the drug trade have frequently been at the root of homicides and disappearances involving Tribal members.
The task force, whose members are still pending, will develop and issue recommendations to combat the rising distribution and usage of methamphetamine. Specifically, members will be charged with identifying:
- Factors causing the crisis on the Wind River Reservation;
- Specific resources needed to address the crisis;
- Recommendations on how to fight the crisis; and
- Measurable goals (including timeframes) for the Tribe to work toward and gauge its progress in addressing the usage of methamphetamine on the reservation.
The Task Force is directed to present its findings to the NABC within two months of the appointment of its members.