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3 Western tribes part of pilot project to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians

Three American Indian tribes in the West soon can exercise the authority to prosecute non-Indians for a limited set of crimes.

Tribes lack criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians on their reservations under a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act allows tribes to bring cases against non-Indians for domestic violence crimes and violations of protection orders.

U.S. justice officials announced Thursday that the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and the Confederation Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon have met requirements to implement provisions of the law early.

The implementation date for most tribes is March 2015.

Meanwhile, federal justice officials have launched an online resource and training center to respond to sexual assaults in Indian Country.