Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Northwest to get federal prosecutor dedicated to missing and slain Indigenous people

Bree Black Horse, a lawyer who has worked with the ACLU, poses for a portrait on Feb. 8, 2022, inside her home in Yakima.  (Emree Weaver/Yakima Herald-Republic)

A federal prosecutor focused on cases involving missing and slain Indigenous people is coming to Eastern Washington.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Washington announced Wednesday that Bree R. Black Horse will join the office next month.

Black Horse will serve throughout the Northwest, including Oregon, Montana, Idaho and California.

She is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Previously, Black Horse advised tribal governments on a variety of issues at Kilpatrick Townsend, a multinational law firm.

Black Horse also served as a law clerk to Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Morris for the District of Montana and as a legal aid attorney and public defender for the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.

She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2013 as a Douglas R. Nash Native American Scholar. While in school, she was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the American Indian Law Journal.

“For far too long Indigenous men, women and children have suffered violence at rates higher than many other demographics,” Black Horse said in a statement. “As I step into this role, I look forward to working with our local, state, and tribal partners to identify concrete ways of reducing violence and improving public safety in Indian country and elsewhere. I also look forward to honing my skills as a federal prosecutor and working with others who are dedicated to DOJ’s mission to seek justice on behalf of victims and their families.”

U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref said her district is committed to being a leader in addressing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People crisis.

“Her appointment demonstrates DOJ’s commitment to combating the root causes of MMIP crisis and holding those who commit these crimes accountable,” Waldref said in a statement. “I am also grateful for the close relationships we have with our Tribal, Federal and State partners as we work together in the joint mission of ensuring justice for all.”

Black Horse’s appointment is part of a federal strategy from July 2022 to prevent and respond to violence against Native American and Indigenous people.